Watch CBS News

Expert Says COVID-19 Vaccination Cards Are Ripe For Fraud, And Not Just Identity Theft

CHICAGO (CBS) -- COVID vaccine cards are supposed to prove that you've had the shot against the novel coronavirus – but there is nothing stopping someone from making a fake, and crooks know it.

The card is technically just for your own records. But as CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported Tuesday night, fraud experts said this goes beyond just identity theft – especially if a sheet of paper is all you need to prove you're vaccinated.

Across Illinois, there is a massive push to get people vaccinated. As people get the dose, they leave with a simple card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The card is key to the kingdom to returning to that land of normalcy," said Professor Bill Kresse of Governors State University, also known as Professor Fraud.

The City of Chicago has already made travel exemptions for those who have received the shot. Its website recommends you bring a copy of your COVID-19 vaccination records.

But if they're talking about a paper card, Kresse says we have a huge problem.

"It's essentially an honor system," he said.

Kresse said the card is far from fraud-proof. We know it can easily be copied.

"As of right now, copying one of those cards does not appear to be illegal, so we do not even have a sanction if someone were to do that," he said.

Currently, there is no mandate to show proof of vaccination in the U.S. But overseas, the so-called vaccine passport is already in use.

The Israeli government issued a digital "green pass" where you scan to prove if you're vaccinated. The U.K. is considering something similar – especially after fraudsters got to work with the paper vaccine cards.

"Used it to print out fake cards that they were then selling on eBay so people could say: 'See? I got my vaccination,' when they really didn't," Kresse said.

Back in Illinois, Kresse points out the vaccination will be key in eliminating the need for proof.

"The best thing that could happen is that they keep rolling out the vaccine so greatly that it really won't make a difference that you had a card," he said.

Terry reached out to the Chicago Department of Public Health to clarify what proof of vaccination is needed to be exempt in travel restrictions. As of Tuesday night, they had not gotten back to him.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.