Digital records could keep fake vaccination cards off the market

Posted at 12:42 PM, Apr 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-03 13:42:22-04

CLEVELAND — For millions of Ohioans, it's the shot of relief — the COVID vaccine is making its way into arms all across the state every day.

But now, fake vaccine cards are popping up online.

“I’m not surprised,” said Sharona Hoffman, a law professor with Case Western Reserve University. “I've been concerned for a while that if we start getting requirements for vaccines, people will find ways to get around it.”

Hoffman said that at this point, we haven't seen private companies and businesses requiring vaccine cards. Some employers may offer incentives, but when it starts to be required, we will have to watch out for people wanting to make an extra buck.

“There will be people trying to make money by selling forged documents and helping people get around the requirement,” Hoffman said. “That always happens.”

Hoffman expects this will not only be a problem for the business or location, but also for anyone who goes there.

“We don't want people not to be confident that a particular venue is safe because they can't trust the fact that everybody there has, in fact, been vaccinated,” she said.

Ohio's Attorney General Dave Yost said fraudulent cards are already popping up on websites like Twitter, eBay and Shopify. To stop it, he's joining 45 other attorneys general in calling on these companies to monitor their platforms for fake vaccine card ads, and to take them down when they see them.

Yost also wants the companies to keep records of people who bought them.

Hoffman said she believes companies are now working to digitize the records to curb the selling of fake cards.

“There is discussion of using technology,” she said. “I know IBM is working on an app. I believe others are working on an app.”

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