PORTLAND, Ore. — The online advertisement offered ‘freedom cards’ for $40. The listing on OfferUp included a photo of what appeared to be official CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards. The seller included contact information using an Oregon area code of 971.
“Are they real?” this reporter asked by text message. “Yes,” the seller responded. “Have connections.”
Oregon’s Attorney General warns the sale of fake coronavirus vaccination cards is illegal and could undermine efforts to end the pandemic.
“Hundreds, if not thousands of these cards have already been sold and we want to put a stop to it,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
“Basically, they’ve either stolen the cards from some place or they have counterfeited the cards, which of course is illegal,” explained Rosenblum. She, along with 47 of her colleagues, signed a letter demanding e-commerce platforms crack down on the sale of illegal COVID vaccine cards.
The FBI also issued a warning that if you didn’t receive the vaccine, do not buy fake vaccine cards, do not make your own cards, and do not fill-in blank vaccination record cards with bogus information.
“People seem to take this like it is some sort of a joke when it is not a joke. People’s lives are at stake,” explained Nenette Day, an assistant special agent in charge at the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general’s office.
“On any given day, up to 40 to 50 percent of our complaints are related to reports of fake vaccination cards,” said Day.
Day worries falsified cards, bought online, or made at home, could endanger lives.
For example, if someone pretended to be vaccinated by using a fake card to enter a school, work or nursing home, they could potentially put others at risk.
Shortly after KGW alerted OfferUp about the listing for ‘freedom cards’ the advertisement disappeared.
“We have only seen a small number of prohibited posts with vaccine cards, but we see this is a serious matter and have disabled any accounts that provide them,” an OfferUp spokesperson wrote in a statement to KGW. “We are eager to cooperate with any law enforcement agencies who would be willing to pursue this matter."