Look I know this pandemic has been a long, depressing slog, and even if you’ve masked up, done the social distancing, and have managed to stay virus-free, we’re all good and frazzled at this point. So it’s understandable that now that we have vaccines available, everyone’s impatient to get one.
But when you finally get the jab, resist the urge to post a humblebrag on Instagram or any other social media platform, because identity thieves may be watching. And, you don’t want to be the newly-vaccinated person whose selfie provides scammers with a template to make fake vaccination record cards (because if you think isn’t already happening, you would be mistaken).
“Some of you are celebrating your second COVID-19 vaccination with the giddy enthusiasm that’s usually reserved for weddings, new babies, and other life events,” the Federal Trade Commission wrote in a blog post on Friday. “You’re posting a photo of your vaccination card on social media. Please — don’t do that! You could be inviting identity theft.”
Not only does the card have the vaccinated person’s name and birth date on it, it also includes when and where you got the shot. Unless all your social media accounts are set to private, you’re handing out a lot of free data about yourself you may not want randos on the internet to know.
The New York Times talked to some privacy experts who said a savvy scam artist could pretend to be a healthcare official to trick people who have received the first dose of the vaccine into thinking they need to pay for the second dose, and get the victims’ credit card information. And, someone could use the photo of your vaccination card to recreate the cards and possibly sell counterfeit versions— something that’s apparently already happening in the UK.
As part of its Vaccinate with Confidence campaign, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a plan for states to hand out stickers to the newly-vaccinated, an excellent visual to share on social media instead of your vaccination card.
So if you have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, please accept my congratulations! We’re all happy for you. But we don’t need to see your vital information all over our social feeds.