RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As vaccination slowly becomes the norm, those who refuse to get the shot are looking for ways to make it appear that they’ve been vaccinated and they’re turning to criminals to help them.
Besides the obvious public health implications, there are many other dangers associated with that practice that could cost you in more ways than one.
An unsolicited phone call offering to sell you a vaccine is a scam–a scam that is originating from an organized ring of criminals who are trying to steal your money–but that’s not all they want.
“Any bit of personal information you reveal partially or fully is literally being farmed by bad actors–mostly for the purposes of later marketing them,” said Brian Linder, an emerging threats expert at Check Point Software Technologies.
The company has found fake “proof of COVID vaccination” cards selling on the dark web for $150 a pop. Their researchers also discovered fake COVID tests claiming you’re virus-free for $25. Their experts also found both counterfeit and stolen vaccines for sale for about $500.
Consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia wanted to know who was behind these efforts.
“They are in some cases state-sponsored,” said Linder. “More than likely they are groups of really smart, really focused individuals who want to make money.”
The criminals also wait for so-called “golden moments” when you do things like putting your vaccine card on social media. That information is a big piece of the ID theft puzzle the bad guys are piecing together on you.
“They’re collating with dozens of public sources to accumulate an identity worth a tremendous about of money,” he said.
The price you pay is way more than the initial money you outlay for the fake items if your identity is stolen.
“The process puts your credit, your finances, and all aspects of your life at risk for being resold,’ said Linder. “The cost of trying to clean it up, I don’t know if I can put a price tag on that.”
Every day we consciously or unconsciously reveal personal information online for bad guys to accumulate, so don’t help them out by doing things like buying fake COVID documents.