Chuck Schumer. Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Senator Chuck Schumer called for a crackdown on fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
He is pushing to start a campaign to make clear that forged cards could land people in jail.
The FBI warned that buying, creating, or selling fabricated vaccine cards is a federal crime.
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Chuck Schumer said federal law enforcement officials need to crack down on fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, which are being sold online.
Schumer’s announcement Sunday comes after AP previously reported how people are cheating the system and, worrying officials at colleges and universities across the country that are requiring proof students received the vaccine to attend in-person classes.
A user on the encrypted messaging app Telegram offered what they described as “COVID-19 Vaccine Cards Certificates,” for as much as $200 each, the report said.
Schumer is demanding US Customs and Border Protection and the FBI team up with officials from the Department of Health and Human Services to launch a crackdown on the counterfeit cards and start a campaign to make clear that forging the cards could land people in federal prison.
He also wants the Justice Department to immediately prioritize cases involving fake vaccine cards and is pushing for Customs and Border Protection to work harder to find counterfeit cards being sent from overseas.
Federal agents have already seized thousands of fake vaccine cards this year. Customs and Border Protection officers working in Memphis seized another shipment earlier this week – sent from Shenzhen, China, – that contained dozens of fake cards, officials said.
Border agents knew immediately that the cards were fake, the agency said, because the cards were laden with typos, unfinished words, and incorrect or misspelled Spanish words on the backs of the cards.
The FBI had issued a joint statement with the Department of Health and Human Services in March urging people not to buy, create or sell fabricated vaccine cards. The unauthorized use of the seal of an official government agency is a federal crime that carries a possible fine and up to five years in prison.
Two tourists were arrested Friday after forging vaccination documents in order to travel to Hawaii. Local outlet KHON2 reported that after being arrested, the pair had to fly back to California, test negative for COVID-19, and then return to Honolulu to face the courts.
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