Stop Sharing Your Vaccine Cards on Social Media

Over the recent past, many people shared their celebratory pictures of the vaccine card on social media. Beware! Scammers are watching!

You must be wondering that what kind of scam they are going to run on you only by knowing your name and birthday. Well, it’s not just your birthday that is listed. The card reveals medically sensitive information, including your vaccine lot number, clinic location and the brand of vaccination received. For a few people, the card features even more.

With the rolling of the Covid vaccine to more people around the country, we’ve seen many vaccine information cards across social networks and chat apps. Though selfies are allowed as a way to express happiness to be vaccinated, it also shows how people are doing their bit to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Multiple government agencies have alerted against the risks of posting vaccine card images online.

Identity theft is like a puzzle, comprised of pieces of personal information. One doesn’t want to give identity thieves the pieces they require to finish the picture. Once identity thieves have the vital statistics, they can use the information to open new accounts in your name, claim your tax refund for themselves, and engage in other identity theft. This was warned by Federal Trade Commission.

Cybersecurity experts haven’t heard of any widespread hacks or scams specific to vaccine cards, though the roots of identity theft are difficult to uncover. However, some also apprehended these security threats would be easy to execute. There will be hundreds of millions of people getting vaccinated. If cyberattack history repeats itself, these threat actors or scammers will try to find a way to exploit this situation.

As of now, multiple Covid-19 scams have been reported, ranging from people pretending to be Covid-19 contact tracers to fake websites guaranteeing vaccine appointments.

Many of us may be oblivious to the risks given how much information we assume is already available online regarding us. One of the biggest concerns around the vaccine card trend is that the information is visible all in one place and easy to access.

A cybercriminal may try to impersonate you and call your healthcare company to know about your medical history or diagnoses, cancel upcoming procedures, change prescription doses, and more. With or without the medical record number, vaccine cards could also let a hacker conduct a phishing scheme for manipulating data and passwords. With the lot number of the vaccine you received or the location of the place where you got the shot, they can spoof the email address of that facility with a fake message like a recall persuading you to click a link, supposedly to reschedule an updated dose but meant to collect information from you. 

However, we should not ignore any email you get about your vaccine. But it is a good reminder to be careful about links you click with any email about any subject and to ensure the sender is who they claim to be.

People who are in the public eye more, whether they’re influencers, celebrities, or journalists can be more vulnerable to this as criminals are more likely to target them. Posting vaccine records information is as sensitive as posting your credit card numbers online. Most likely to commit identity thefts are friends and family.

That’s doesn’t mean that people should refrain from celebrating the vaccine on social media completely. Safer options are cropping out details on a card or opting for a selfie instead. Few vaccine sites are handing out stickers, similar to the ones voters receive at Election Day polls. Snapping a photo, wearing the sticker communicates the same message across without any security risk.

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