BBB: Sharing photo of COVID-19 vaccination card could make you vulnerable to identity theft

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FILE – In this Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020 file photo, a county health department worker fills out a vaccination record card before administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to emergency medical workers and healthcare personnel at the Chester County Government Services Center in West Chester, Pa. The first coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. require two shots taken weeks apart, and you’ll be given a record card so you know when to go back for the second dose. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(ABC4) – Once you have received your COVID-19 vaccine, you may be tempted to share the news with your friends and family on social media. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is advising that you don’t.

You may have already seen photos of people sharing the vaccination card on social media once they receive their dose.

The BBB says a photo, which can show your self-identifying information, makes you vulnerable to identity theft and helps scammers create phony versions.

“Unfortunately, your card has your full name and birthday on it, as well as information about where you got your vaccine,” the BBB explains. “If your social media privacy settings aren’t set high, you may be giving valuable information away for anyone to use.”

Scammers in Great Britain have already been caught selling fake vaccination cards on eBay and TikTok, according to the BBB. By posting photos of your card, the BBB says you can help provide scammers with the information they can use to create and sell these phony cards.

The BBB offers these types to safely share that you have received the vaccine on social media:

  • Share your vaccine sticker or use a profile frame instead. If you want to post about your vaccine, there are safer ways to do it. You can share a photo of your vaccine sticker or set a frame around your profile picture.
  • Review your security settings. Check your security settings on all social media platforms to see what you are sharing and with whom. If you only want friends and family to see your posts, be sure that’s how your privacy settings are configured.
  • Be wary of answering popular social media prompts. Sharing your vaccine photo is just the latest social trend. Think twice before participating in other viral personal posts, such as listing all the cars you’ve owned (including makes/model years), favorite songs, and top 10 TV shows. Some of these “favorite things” are commonly used passwords or security questions.

The BBB has offered tips to protect yourself from scammers in recent weeks, including encouraging Zoom users to double check links shared with them.

“You’re probably going to start to see some emails or even text messages that inform you that there’s something either wrong with your Zoom account, and you need to ‘click here’ to get it fixed, or welcoming you because you need to activate your Zoom account,” said Roseann Freitas, the Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manager. “So just different ways that they’re trying to get you to click on that link.”

Clicking on any fake links can lead consumers to look-a-like Zoom websites. The site will ask consumers for their personal information.

“You’ve now opened yourself up to identity fraud and having your information targeted for money scams.”

Malware can also be downloaded on devices by clicking on unsolicited links. The BBB says, always double check the sender’s information.

In early December, the BBB also warned about puppy scams in which scammers use cute photos to convince would-be pet owners to send them hundreds of dollars – or more – to purchase a pet that ultimately doesn’t exist.

BBB data shows the average amount that people lost in these scams in 2020 was $750 with half of the victims between the ages of 35 and 55. In 2017, the BBB recorded 884 pet scam reports worth $448,123 in losses – in 2020 there have already been 4,300 reports worth $3,100,000.

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