Fake COVID vaccine card sales are ramping up online, cybersecurity expert says

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As more schools, businesses and travel destinations require proof of vaccination, there are growing concerns about fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.

Offers to purchase fake COVID-19 vaccination cards are on apps like Telegram and WhatApp according to Check Point Software Technologies.

RELATED: Experts warn fake vaccination cards could prolong pandemic, FBI categorizes them as crime

Maya Levine is an East Bay based cybersecurity expert for the company.

"For those people who are adamant against being vaccinated they're finding opportunities in not being limited in what they can do while still not getting vaccinated through buying these fake vaccination certificates," said Levine.

Levine says the fakes look like the real thing.

"Especially in the U.S. where we only have a physical paper copy it's not that hard to forge," said Levine.

RELATED: Vaccination site gives out photocopies instead of CDC cards; how they may derail your travel plans
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A mass vaccination site in San Mateo ran out of CDC cards, and resorted to handing out photocopies of cards instead.



It's not just locally. Check Point's experts have found the cards available internationally as well.

"There are whole countries that are saying you can't go indoors anywhere unless you show proof of vaccination," said Levine.

The cards are often for sale in Bitcoin according to Levine who says the digital currency is difficult to trace.

"Bitcoin is a lot easier to get away with these crimes," said Levine.

And interest is growing.

RELATED: Napa doctor arrested for selling fake COVID-19 vaccines, immunization cards, DOJ says

"We're seeing a big increase in the number of people who are following these groups, who are joining these groups and we can only assume there's a big increase in the number of people who are purchasing these vaccination cards as well," said Levine.

We checked in with schools and employers requiring vaccines to ask how they'll verify the cards are legit.

California State University East Bay says they're finalizing details of how they will review the vaccination cards that students and employees submit.

While smaller companies like Bay Area startup "Neverland" tells us they'll do their best to spot fake cards by following any official guidance they can find.

A developing concern as the number of places requiring COVID-19 vaccinations continues to grow.

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