Summary List Placement
The sudden surge of fake COVID-19 vaccines and forged vaccine cards online have overwhelmed social platforms dealing with scammers taking advantage of pandemic anxieties.
“Hundreds” of sellers have profited off of Americans’ fervent clamor for official vaccine cards, the New York Times reported Thursday. Despite policies banning the sale of fake cards on their platforms, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify each were hosting sellers that purported to have vaccine cards for sale, the Times found.
The growing market for these cards comes as COVID-19 vaccinations are becoming more widely available across the United States. Proof of vaccination could become a requirement in coming months as a sort of “passport” to travel on airplanes or gain entry into large events and venues. But in some parts of the country, rollout has been slow. In other areas, anti-vaccine advocates refuse to be vaccinated, but want to be able to live their lives without pandemic-related restrictions.
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The amount of scammers offering falsified vaccine cards has “mushroomed in recent weeks,” according to the Times. Yet scams related to COVID-19 are not new phenomena these platforms have had to deal with. As COVID-19 cases were on the rise in the US in early 2020, sellers advertised unofficial KN95 masks and upcharged bottles of hand sanitizer. Scammers tapped into people’s worries and questions about the pandemic, promoting alleged treatments or precautionary measures. As vaccines were tested and approved, advertisements and posts flooded social media claiming to sell COVID-19 vaccines not yet available to the general public.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans have reported more than 430,000 coronavirus-related scams since the start of 2020. The result has been nearly …read more