As more businesses require vaccination proof, some people turn to fake COVID vaccine cards

COVID-19 vaccination card
Posted at 10:10 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 23:26:51-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Employees of The 5 Spot are used to checking for fake IDs.

“It’s something we deal with often. We have to worry about fake ID cards all the time, and of course, we’re legally liable if someone does gain entry with a fake ID, doesn’t matter how good it is," said co-owner Travis Collinsworth.

But starting Saturday, they’ll be checking for a different kind of fake. “We need the name [on the COVID vaccine card] to match the ID and if it’s a home test then maybe take a picture of the test at home, include your ID in the picture - the same ID you’re to present - and that should get you into the venue,” said Collinsworth.

They’ll be requesting either proof of a recent COVID-19 test or a vaccination card, and if your information doesn’t match, you’ll be turned away.

“The cards themselves were done in a way that we could remind people when they could come back to get their shots. So it wasn’t intended to be what it’s turning out to be a way to verify you’ve been vaccinated before you can get into a venue or a restaurant,” said Brian Todd, a spokesperson with the Metro Public Health Department.

Now scammers across the country are capitalizing on the opportunity, selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

“Even though it’s a simple looking card, it’s a reminder card, it is an official federal document and it has a CDC and an HHS logo on it. So it is illegal on a federal level to reproduce those,” said Todd.

The Department of Justice even created a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, in part, to combat the issue. Just last month a California woman’s case became the first federal criminal fraud prosecution for selling fake cards.

“It comes with a hefty fine and up to five years in prison. So it is something that if you are caught it can be quite serious,” said Todd.

Besides making sure the name on the vaccination card and matches your ID, Collinsworth says spotting a fake will be hard and his employees will mostly rely on the honesty policy when evaluating vaccination cards.

Rather than pay money for a fake card, Metro Health officials say you could always just get one for free with a vaccine.