FBI: That Post-Vaccine Selfie Might Be More Dangerous Than You Think

Apr 8, 2021

The FBI is warning Floridians about the risks of sharing photos of your COVID-19 vaccine card on social media. Scammers may steal your information off the cards, the FBI says, or use your photos to create fake vaccine cards that they can sell. 

The Federal Trade Commission has echoed the warning, saying the innocuous-seeming information on the cards might reveal more than you think. 

“Identity theft works like a puzzle, made up of pieces of personal information,” wrote attorney Seena Gressing of the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education. “You don’t want to give identity thieves the pieces they need to finish the picture. One of those pieces is your date of birth. For example, just by knowing your date and place of birth, scammers sometimes can guess most of the digits of your Social Security number.”

Gressing suggested posting a photo of the plastic bandage on your arm to celebrate instead. 

The FBI says it is a crime to buy fake vaccine cards, make your own, or fill in blank cards with false information. The unauthorized use of government agency seals or logos like those found on vaccine cards can be punished with a fine, or up to five years in prison. 

To report suspicious activity involving fake vaccination record cards, the FBI requests that you contact the Jacksonville field office at (904) 248-7000; HHS-OIG (1-800-HHS-TIPS or www.oig.hhs.gov); or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov).

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.