‘Replicating, forging, falsifying, imitating or faking’ documents are all the abilities accredited to the new technologies advancement across the globe. Despite being beneficial to the human race, technology has also brought dangerous loopholes that can be exploited for selfish gains by people. Falsifying documents have matured over the years to be a viable ‘profession’ similar to drug trafficking or illegal selling of firearms. Fake Covid-19 Vaccine Cards are just part of the already existing phenomenon of falsified documents that flood the world.
Given the long line-up of fake passports, citizenship records, birth certificates, visas, deeds of trust, among others, it was only a matter of time for the world to have a taste of fake covid-19 vaccine cards. This should not come as a shocker since the ‘tradition’ has been in play from long back, so it was inevitable to experience such.
This criminal act is a stand-alone pandemic that has penetrated the core of most nations. The most unfortunate part is that government officials who are supposed to be working against this crime provide materials to the criminals such as paper, stamps, government seals, and scanned office holder signatures.
The world can survive with people who have fake papers which do not directly threaten human lives. For example, a fake passport or identification card does not raise eyebrows compared to this new trend of fake covid-19 vaccine cards, which can pose a threat to people.
A covid-19 vaccination card is proof provided that shows that someone has been vaccinated against the coronavirus pandemic. A bogus document of such a vital vaccination program that is meant to save humanity is dangerous. An unvaccinated person parading as a vaccinated person can be equated to a ‘murderer’ because that person might be spreading a deadly virus that kills people, contributing to the mass killing of people.
It has been reported that packs of blank covid-19 vaccination cards were being sold on various online selling platforms such as Amazon and Etsy, pro-Trump forums, and the dark web. The responsible sellers or vendors are ordinary people who seem to have access to these cards and have the authentication tools to make these cards look legit after filling in the required details. In the United States of America (US), the FBI had issued a warning against the manufacturers of these cards and highlighted that they are violating the integrity of the public health sector. In the US law against fake documentation, it is written that any perpetrator involved in this crime should be sentenced to five years in jail or heavily fined [Source].
The US lawmakers handed tech companies letters of advice recommending them to carefully examine their platforms to prevent illegal vending or advertising fake covid-19 cards online. These tech companies included OfferUp, Twitter, Shopify, eBay, and the management teams from these corporates, have pledged to help the government stop these fraudsters.
Only a few arrests have been made, and Senate Bill S4516C was passed in the US Legislative Session due to this situation. The bill states that it is a crime for anyone to falsify covid-19 vaccine cards, and even the users will be found guilty [Source]. This is a good move in fighting fraudsters in the US.
News reports from other countries show that the forging of covid-19 documents is restricted to vaccination cards and extends to covid-19 certificate results. These results are required for one to travel to other countries. Some people have been arrested in Zambia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe after being found to possess empty stamped certificates that just needed one to fill in personal details, name, and age [Source]. Templates of the covid-19 certificates and vaccination cards are downloadable in pdf or doc format on the internet, which means one can download and then get a government stamp to make it look authenticate.
People’s unwillingness to get vaccinated should be an area of concern as to why one would refuse to get protection from a virus that can kill him or her. In dealing with fake cards, officials need to understand why people resist getting their doses, considering that it is easy to get vaccinated due to the numerous vaccination centers established in most countries. Also, getting a vaccination card after getting the shots is free compared to buying a fake one which is going for about $12 to $15 on the black market.
One of the major reasons people mistrust vaccines is the conspiracies associated with vaccination programs, especially the coronavirus pandemic, which has been labeled a bio-chemical weapon created for a specific reason. Due to this, it took a long time for people to accept the vaccination programs wholeheartedly. Africa was buzzing with reports that vaccines might endanger Africans’ lives and enable some superpower countries to control them if they get the shots. Health experts demystified this mindset and managed to convince people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
However, not everyone was convinced, so fake vaccine cards still have buyers across the globe. More so, selling these cards has a substantial financial benefit to the vendors, so more and more packs will be sold in the near future, especially among travelers who are constantly moving from country to country. Although the US government has passed Senate Bill S4516C as a deterrent measure against these fake documents, it will take more than that to stop this crime.
And due to the remaining US population that still needs to get vaccinated for the population to be regarded as immune, this crime will rise even more as the demand for vaccination cards is going to grow. In addition, many nations have lifted lockdowns and lessen travel restrictions which means people will start traveling once more, so the market for fake covid-19 cards is widely open and ready to bring in more money. Thus the US government and other state leaders need to develop a more effective way to stop this crime immediately before it tightens its grip on people.