SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you have been among those who has received a COVID vaccine, you may be interested in telling the world or at least friends on social media. Some people have been taking pictures of their vaccine cards and posting the photos. But the Better Business Bureau is warning that this is a bad idea because your full name and birth date are on the card.
“And given those two bits of information that’s about all a scammer needs to either completely steal your identity or set up a fake identity using your information,” said Tom Stephens with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
“When you post a picture of that on social media or somewhere else, it’s open to the world or anybody that sees that and it’s not a smart thing to do,” he said.
Stephens says with those two pieces of information, a scam artist can often steal a social security number. “Because they can mine social security numbers from various black web sites so even if the social security number is not yours, the crook now has a name a birth date and a social security number of some kind and they can use that to create a fake ID to open up credit card accounts,” he said.
Stephens says scammers are also targeting many who want to receive the vaccine. It can be in the form of phone calls or online solicitations. He says the claim is usually that the call or email or online ad is from a government agency. Stephens says the crooks prey on people who are scared and feel desperate to get the vaccine.
“They’re usually going to try to extort money from you and say okay ‘because you’re not 65 we can get you on a list if you will pay us $249 dollars’ or something like that. So, we’ve seen those types of scams pretty frequently,” said Stephens.
The BBB says since the pandemic began last year there have been dozens of scams associated with COVID, including such things as fake cures.
“None of the scams are big,” said Stephens. “They’re all small dollar amounts that we’ve seen but you know, if you can extort a couple hundred bucks out of a thousand people in a week, you’ve done a pretty good week’s work.”
You are reminded that you do not have to pay to get on a list to be vaccinated.
Stephens says if you are excited that you have been able to receive a shot, share only the information on social media. He says if you put out a photo of that vaccine card it “is open to the world or anybody that sees that so that’s not a smart thing to do.”