HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A scary trend over a growing black market is targeting students — fake COVID vaccine cards.
They’re being produced at a rapid rate — often appearing on social media, appealing to students who refuse to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
The Department of Consumer Protection is urging employers, school officials and businesses to use caution when reviewing the card itself.
“Some of these cards look identical to the cards that you receive when you’re vaccinated and that’s the problem,” said Leslie O’Brien, a consumer protection spokesperson.
A spokesperson with the University of Connecticut admits they’re well aware of the trend, writing:
“It’s a trust exercise for students to upload valid proof of vaccination to the university. That being said, we haven’t encountered issues with fake vaccination cards to our knowledge. We believe this is because requesting an exemption under UConn’s policy is simple and straightforward, which provides students with an easier and more honest path than paying for false credentials, taking the risk of being caught and potentially facing discipline.”
With a flood of ads on social media and dark web sites offering fake COVID vaccine cards for purchase, CT Attorney General William Tong is cracking down on those trying to beat the system, saying college students are no exception to the law.
“It’s wrong to sell or traffic in fake vaccination cards. It’s dangerous, you’re putting people at risk, you’re making them unsafe. You don’t have a right to do it, no you don’t have a First Amendment right to do it. It’s potentially and likely a crime so don’t do it,” Attorney General Tong said.
Attorney General Tong says possessing a fake COVID-19 vaccination card may be punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
If you know of anyone selling or using a fake card, you are asked to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.