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FBI Indianapolis opens up about the growing issue of fake COVID vaccine cards

More people are trying to skip the shot and buy fraudulent COVID vaccine cards
COVID Vaccine card
Posted at 5:16 PM, Sep 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 16:50:24-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Special Agent Spencer Brooks works as part of the Complex Financial Crimes Squad at the FBI headquarters in Indianapolis.

And because of the pandemic, he's recently added a slew of new financial fraud cases to his plate.

“I kind of think, when is the work ever going to end?” said Brooks.

It’s never-ending work that now includes investigating cases involving buying or selling fake COVID vaccine cards.

“We’re certainly seeing that, that’s certainly out there, that’s certainly an issue," Brooks said. “We’re seeing more recently when you’re seeing people need to have them to go out and do certain things.”

Some people want to participate in concerts or work while dodging the shot, and it puts others at risk.

Brooks said he’s seen people sell them on social media between the price of $10- $250 per card. The vaccination itself is free, but Brooks said people are attempting to do this because the vaccine card is easily replicated.

“[It's] kind of different from your passport which has like a tremendous amount of security measures in it," he said.

That also makes it easy for him to spot when the card is falsified.

Brooks said there’s usually an identifiable mistake in the fake cards. Sometimes, it’ll have a missing Center for Disease Control and Prevention or Health and Human Services logo, or it has typos.

Buying and selling fake vaccine cards is not just an Indiana issue; it’s nationwide. On September 16, Cincinnati officers seized 1,683 counterfeit COVID vaccination cards, but it is a major crime people like Brooks would follow up on.

“There might be a certain situation where you might get a call or a visit from us and we’re asking who you bought it from, or we find some posts of you buying something online," Brooks said.

The FBI is asking Hoosiers to report something if they see someone trying to buy or sell a fake COVID vaccine card.

“That’s something that we want to know about and that’s something that I think your viewers, in their minds, also think 'this is not ok. I should report this,'" said Brooks. "I know sometimes that’s hard. But we need folks to report it because otherwise, we don’t really know."

According to the Department of Justice, violators could face up to five years in prison or a $5,000 fine for misrepresenting the official seal of a U.S. agency, on a fake COVID vaccine card.

If you see someone buying or selling fake vaccine cards, you can report it in several ways.