CHICAGO (CBS) — They are proof a person has had the COVID-19 vaccine, but phony vaccine cards are popping up on popular sites like eBay and Craigslist. Most are being sold as “novelty” items or, at least, that is the description online.
CBS 2 found ads anywhere between $5 and $200 for blank vaccine cards. But are these sellers committing a crime?READ MORE: 1 Killed, 4 Injured In Evanston Shooting
Three weeks ago we warned you about a scheme brewing in the United Kingdom to print fake cards and sell them on eBay so people could pretend they’ve gotten their vaccine.
As predicted, local sellers are now joining the game.
For example an ad from a seller in west suburban Winfield offers blank vaccine identification cards, saying “replacement and novelty use only.” It’s $5 a card for a minimum order of five cards. The seller even writes, “I am not liable for any illegal use.”
Does that take them off the hook?
“The bottom line is there is no legitimate reason why someone would be selling a blank COVID-19 vaccine form,” said former federal prosector Steven Block with Thompson Hine. “It brings out the best in people and it brings out the worst in people.”READ MORE: At Least 40 People Wounded, 3 Killed In Thanksgiving Weekend Shootings In Chicago
Block said the act of photocopying a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention card would not necessarily send someone to jail.
“But on the other hand, the government’s very protective of its information, and there is a CDC logo on there,” he said. “So whoever is selling these cards could be opening themselves up for civil liability for trademark infringements and its really something they should think twice about continuing to do.”
Another is being sold out of Crown Point, Indiana. It’s a blank CDC Vaccination Record Card. This one is marked as “sold” for $7.99 and shipped with USPS First Class.
In another post the starting bid for a replica card is $199.
Block said the ads are all part of a much bigger trend of people trying to profit off the pandemic.
“I think there’s a lot better things that people can be putting in their COVID-19 time capsules than fake CDC vaccines cards. I would recommend to steer clear,” he said.MORE NEWS: Wolfpack Junior Football Team Needs Funds To Compete For National Championship In Florida
The Illinois Attorney General’s office said it is aware of these cards and are looking into the matter. A spokesperson said, “Rather than purchasing ‘novelty’ cards that do not seem to hold any apparent value, we would encourage people to receive their free COVID vaccine when they are eligible.”