Consumer expert warns of severe punishments for fake COVID-19 vaccination cards
Fake vaccine cards are on the rise across the country as more cities, businesses and schools require them for entry - and experts warn the consequences are severe if you're caught.
Starting this week, vaccination proof will be needed in New York City if you want to eat indoors, go to a gym, see a show, work at a hospital and much more.
Surrounding counties don't have that same rule, but businesses like the Tarrytown Music Hall and employers like the City of Yonkers do. Many colleges have the same mandate as well – no vaccination proof means no entry.
“600 to 700 colleges are now requiring that students be vaccinated when they come back for college, and that's why this black market is exploding and targeting toward college students,” says Jim Maisano, the director of Westchester Consumer Protection.
Maisano says the fake cards are easy to make and can cost anywhere from $20 to $200. However, he says the consequences are much pricier.
“The penalty for using, selling, or making a fake vaccination card is either $5,000 or five years in jail,” Maisano says.
Some people found that the vaccine mobile apps, like NYC COVID Safe, are easy to fool as well.
Maisano says physical or digital, using any kind of fake card is not worth the risk.
“It's certainly easier just to go get the vaccination and get the vaccination card properly than to go violate federal law to get a fake vaccination card,” he says.