Fake vaccine card arrests, experts say we need better ways to verify vaccine status

Smartphone apps and QR code technology identified as solutions
Fake vaccine cards arrests, experts say we need better ways to verify vaccine status
Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 09:50:40-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Back in March we warned you about those vaccine card selfies and how fraudsters were working to steal information in the hopes of making money by peddling counterfeit proof of vaccine cards. News5 has a follow up and why experts say vaccine card fraud will remain a problem until better technology is widely used.

Across the country and here in Colorado more places are now asking for proof of vaccinations, but the experts say those vaccine cards are easy to fake and criminals are already working to flood the market with counterfeits, putting the system and our safety at risk.

"These are federal crimes. So this is a CDC, a federal card, so this falls under the jurisdiction of those federal agencies," said CSU Global's "Dr. Fraud" J. Michael Skiba. "We finally saw in the past few weeks, we have seen a few arrests. We saw a Florida couple that was arrested for using a fake vaccine card for themselves and their children as they traveled to and from Hawaii. We also saw a pharmacist that was arrested for selling 100 counterfeit vaccine cards on eBay for $10."

For this story News5 asked Skiba to see if he could find fraudulent vaccine cards online. He needed just a few hours to track down a blank vaccine card template that crooks can easily use to fake a vaccine card and for free.

"Just doing some basic internet searches I was able to find this template very quickly. This is very disturbing because what this means is that the scammers, the fraudsters, even those who are desiring to have a vaccine card can easily find these templates online," said Skiba.

"Making a vaccination card, I can probably knock off a vaccination card that would pass muster with 95% of the people looking it, in seconds," said Scott Chatley a technologist who is closely tracking how venues in Las Vegas are using technology to check the vaccination status of people attending events.

Chatley says asking for a vaccine card alone is a flimsy and poor planned system, especially without a shared nationwide approach.
"You wind up with this discombobulated and incongruent mess of how you are supposed to verify your vaccination status," said Chatley.

The Las Vegas Raiders are asking all fans attending games at Allegiant Stadium to be vaccinated, they are using a health pass application called "Clear". Chatley says it is an effective way to check for proof.

"It has been in place for years to verify people who are going to fly, it is an extra level of security on top of the TSA precheck and screening that people are going to go through," said Chatley. "Your vaccine provider uploads your information into the verification system and that's what they are using to verify for you."

While some technology is being used, most of the country is still relying on those paper cards with no watermark or anything else.

Experts at Checkpoint Software say that QR codes could actually help solve the issue, even if we continue to use paper cards.

"A QR code that references an identity and a vaccination status that's complete, when you put those all together, that's the technology that's required to have 100% verification that you are who you are and you either have been tested positive, negative, or you've been vaccinated completely," said Head of Engineering at Checkpoint Software Mark Ostrowski.

Some concert and show venues in Colorado are now asking patrons to show proof of vaccination and the State of Colorado now has an app on your smartphone where you can store that information if you ever need to provide it.

Here is the link:

Step by step for set up:
You can now use themyColorado™ app to access your COVID-19 vaccine record.

If you haven't already, download the myColorado app™ and have your Colorado Driver's License or ID ready to set up your account.

Once your account is set up, click the myVaccine Record button on the main wallet page.

Review the myVaccine information and click "Continue."

Confirm First Name, Last Name, DOB, and Gender.

Enter your phone number or email address.

Click "Submit."

Allow up to 10 seconds for your record to load.

Your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card should appear and you will have the ability to download it to your device.

If you receive any errors or your information is incorrect, you can contact the help desk by emailing with your full name, DOB, phone number and date(s) of your COVID-19 vaccines.