California Attorney General Rob Bonta warned Californians not to print fake or purchase counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards as reports of people advertising them on social media, e-commerce sites and blogs have increased.
Bonta issued a consumer alert Wednesday morning over the fraudulent vaccination cards which are used by individuals to misrepresent themselves as fully vaccinated.
In a statement Bonta said, “These counterfeit records undermine the health and safety of Californians and are also illegal. I advise you to get your COVID-19 vaccination and the authentic vaccination record that reflects you were vaccinated. Please do not purchase a fraudulent record, do not make your own, and do not fill in blank vaccination record cards with false information.”
Bonta said forging or possessing forged documents such as a fake COVID-19 vaccination card is a crime in California. Unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal such as the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is a federal crime.
Bonta also urged people not post photos of their vaccination card on social media because their personal information could stolen and used in a fraud.
In early May agents from California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control acting on a complaint, began an investigation of a bar in Clements selling fraudulent vaccination cards, leading to an arrest of the owner.
San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement after the arrest, “It is disheartening to have members in our community show flagrant disregard for public health in the midst of a pandemic. Distributing, falsifying or purchasing fake COVID-19 vaccine cards is against the law and endangers yourself and those around you."
To report suspicious activity or counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards residents can:
• File a complaint with the California Attorney General’s Office at www.oag.ca.gov/report.
• Contact the local district attorney’s office, in San Joaquin County at https://www.sjgov.org/da/
• Contact the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/report-fraud.
• File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at https://www.ic3.gov.
• Contact the Tracy Press at email@example.com or 209-835-3030.