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Consumer alert: NYS Division of Consumer Protection warns New Yorkers about risks of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards

Submitted

Thu, Sep 23rd 2021 08:40 pm

Buying fake vaccine cards or filling the blanks with false information is illegal and could land people in jail

√ DCP: Vaccines are safe and effective – NYers should get vaccinated instead of seeking out fake cards

√ New Yorkers can now report vaccine-related fraud by calling 833-vax-scam (833-829-7226) or emailing [email protected]alth.ny.gov

Submitted by the New York State Division of Consumer Protection

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) warned New Yorkers about the risks of using or buying fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. As more and more places are requiring proof of vaccination, scammers are taking advantage of this opportunity by selling fake verification tools including fake cards, certificates, test results or even doctors’ notes. New Yorkers should be aware that buying fake vaccine cards, making their own or filling the blanks with false information is illegal and could land them in jail. The vaccines have repeatedly been proven to be safe. Opting for a fake vaccination card instead of getting vaccinated is an unnecessary health – and legal – risk.

“With more companies requiring proof of vaccination from employees and customers, New Yorkers should be aware that scammers are hard at work producing fake vaccine cards,” Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said. “Our Division of Consumer Protection and other law enforcement authorities are working hard to prevent illegal activities by these scammers that put us all at risk.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Our highest priority is helping to ensure the health and safety of New Yorkers as we work together to combat COVID-19. Fake vaccination cards are a betrayal of public trust and an incredible disservice to our communities who have fought diligently to defeat COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and I encourage all unvaccinated New Yorkers to get vaccinated. I thank the Department of State for continuing to raise awareness on the risks of fake vaccine cards and thank them for their commitment to the safety of New Yorkers.”

State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “Making or possessing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards are serious crimes. We are taking this issue very seriously due to the tremendous risk presented by these false documents. Anyone found to be involved with forged vaccine cards will be charged and face the legal consequences.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has received several complaints from people reporting cases of possible fraud related to COVID-19 vaccination. For instance, a consumer reported receiving counterfeit CDC vaccination cards in a vaccine cardholder ordered online. The order included blank cards that anyone could forge to mimic authentic CDC vaccination cards. The FTC also received complaints of websites offering, for a fee, vaccine waivers and medical exemptions without seeing a doctor. The FTC is investigating these and other cases of possible vaccine fraud.

To avoid a run in with the law or being a victim of a crime, the Division of Consumer Protection warns:

√ Presenting fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards or test results can land you in jail. Buying or making fake vaccine cards or filling in blank cards with false information is illegal and could lead to fines or even land you in jail.

√ The only legitimate way to get proof of vaccination – or a negative test result – is to get vaccinated or to test negative. If you lose that proof, check with your state health department or your vaccine provider to find out how to obtain a replacement.

√ Protect your personal information from COVID-19 scams. Scammers set up fraudulent websites offering fake vaccine appointments or call people claiming to be COVID-19 surveyors to collect people’s personal information. Never give out personal information over the phone, especially if you unexpectedly receive a call asking for it. When scheduling a vaccine appointment online, schedule it directly through the New York Department of Health or gov to ensure you’re using a legitimate site.

√ Report fraud. New Yorkers should report vaccine-related fraud by calling 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) or emailing [email protected].

New Yorkers are also encouraged to install the NYS Excelsior Pass Wallet app from the Apple Store or Google Play, or to retrieve their Passes here. Excelsior Pass and Excelsior Pass Plus are free, secure, voluntary platforms that provide digital proof or a digital copy of COVID-19 vaccination and/or negative test results. Passes can be displayed on any smart device or can be printed from any computer.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist and empower the state’s consumers. Consumers can file a complaint with the DCP at https://dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection.

For more consumer protection information, call the DCP helpline at 800-697-1220 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, or visit the DCP website at https://dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection. The division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.

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