Fake vaccination card market flourishing

The vaccination mandates are starting to roll out at all levels now, including one for all federal workers. State and municipal governments are following suit, as are some private employers. Simply saying that you’ve been vaccinated isn’t enough, however. You have to have some form of proof. In the United States, the most common form of such identification is the flimsy, white, cardboard card from the CDC that most people receive after getting their jab(s). Since vaccination records are not routinely tracked in any sort of national database, that’s basically all the proof that’s available.

Since a significant portion of the nation is still either holding off on being vaccinated until more testing is complete or refusing entirely, this situation has opened up a new field of opportunity for those willing to cut corners to dodge the rules. A black market for the sale of bogus vaccination cards is now thriving. According to the Wall Street Journal, the same thing is happening all across the European Union as well. And officials are mostly at a loss as to what to do about it.

As Covid-19 vaccine mandates proliferate in the U.S. and Europe, so are swindlers selling bogus vaccination certificates.

The U.S. government has said federal workers must be vaccinated or submit to regular testing, mask requirements and social distancing. California requires state employees to be vaccinated or tested at least once a week. New York state will soon follow and New York City plans to require proof of vaccination for customers and staff at restaurants and gyms…

The spread of such rules has created a market for counterfeit certificates for the unvaccinated. In recent weeks, schemes to sell illegal proof of vaccination have multiplied on social-media sites, messaging apps such as Telegram and on the dark web, according to government investigators and cybersecurity experts.

If this is taking anyone by surprise at this point, they simply haven’t been paying attention. The vaccines weren’t being widely distributed in the United States until late December of last year or January. It took approximately one day for the fake CDC cards to begin showing up since people anticipated the need for them when the inevitable mandates came into play. By early April, law enforcement was already looking into ways to crack down on sales over the internet. If you didn’t want to take the risk of shopping on the black market, helpful YouTube guides quickly came out showing you how to make one for yourself.

When business owners were told that they would need to require proof of vaccination in order to serve their customers, some adopted programs that went beyond simply being “helpful.” One bar owner in California felt bad about turning unvaccinated people away, so he simply set up a printer behind the bar and began selling fake CDC cards to prospective customers for twenty bucks a pop.

When the government imposes any sort of limits on the actions of the public that require a form of proof, someone will be along immediately offering a way to get around it. When age restrictions were placed on the purchase of alcohol or entry into bars where it is served, fake IDs were quickly showing up all over the country. People are still regularly found trying to use them today and there is still a healthy market for those looking to purchase one.

The difference between the two situations is that the system for generating legal identification cards has been in place for generations and significant investments in the technology have at least given the government a chance to stay ahead of the forgers. I currently have one of the latest generation “secure” IDs which will soon be required for anyone wishing to get on a plane or travel to Canada. You would need some significant level of skill and advanced equipment to produce a fake that would pass muster.

Conversely, these vaccination cards have only been in existence for eight months or so and there was clearly very little thought put into how they would be distributed and kept secure. The CDC cards, like everything else at that time, were rushed out the door in a panic while the powers that be screamed about vaccinating everyone right now. The hand-written information on mine is barely legible. The card itself could be quickly reproduced by most teenagers with freely available software.

This is yet another area where the entire concept of immunity passports falls apart. All across Europe and in some American states like New York, fancy phone apps have been rolled out that supposedly show your vaccination status when passed in front of scanners at businesses and government buildings. But under the covers, to gain the coveted “green check” status, you initially have to supply an image of a CDC card in most cases. If your fake is accepted by the app, you’re good to go. I’m sure everyone relying on high vaccination rates is feeling so much more secure right about now, right?