Want to Share Your Excitement About Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine? Think Again

You cannot get on social media these days without seeing snapshots of COVID-19 vaccination cards. It is understandable that people are excited to share the good news when they are lucky enough to get one of the coveted vaccine doses. However, experts are strongly cautioning people to use discretion when wanting to post pictures of the vaccination confirmation card.

In fact, most recently the Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a statement warning people to keep this information private. Here is why you should be wary of posting this sensitive information online.

Personally Identifying Information

It is important to remember that those who make a business out of identity theft are extremely adept at taking bits and pieces of information from different places and piecing them together like a puzzle. While you may not think that you are giving away a full picture of your identity on your card, it may be the missing piece that is needed to assemble a profile in your name. This information can be used to do a deeper dive and use your identity to commit fraud.

Because the vaccine cards contain your name, date of birth, and the location where you were vaccinated, these pieces alone contain a significant amount of information about your identity. In addition, scammers are adept at using birth dates to hack passwords for sensitive financial accounts. In general, the less personal identifying information that you put out there, the less likely that you are to fall victim to identity theft.

Affect Ability to Get Second Dose

With so many people desperate to get a vaccine, the information on your personal vaccination card confirmation may be used to create a fake card. This can then potentially be used to secure a dose. Not only is this illegal, but it could affect your ability to get the second dose if the system already registers that you have received that shot.

There are already reports of counterfeit versions of the vaccination cards in the UK. It is only a matter of time before these reports surface in the US. The last thing that you want during this pandemic is delay your second dose because somebody has already used your name in the system to secure a shot.

Loss of HIPAA Protection

Posting your vaccine card may also invalidate your Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this federal law requires that certain sensitive patient health data is guarded. However, by posting part of this protected information online, you may open yourself up to the invalidation of this HIPAA protection.

Open Yourself Up to Scammers

By advertising that you have already received the first dose, you also may open yourself up to scammers trying to prey on your desire to get the second dose of the vaccine. All it takes is one scammer to call the trusting individual ready to get their second dose and convince them that they need to pay over the phone. The next thing that you know, the scammer has valuable credit card information. Do not underestimate how low some people will go to obtain this data.

What to Do Instead

For now, the best thing that you can do is to keep your vaccine card off of social media. You should avoid texting it to anyone if you think it may be shared. Feel free to spread the word about the importance of vaccinations and to share your good news. Just do so without making a copy of the vaccine card the main event. Perhaps you want to post a picture of your band-aid or create a frame to share that you are vaccinated. There are loads of ways to share this good news without compromising your personal security in the process.

If you have already shared this information, it is a prudent idea to go back and delete the post so that it is not still out there. This is also a good reminder to regularly check the security settings on all of your social media accounts as well as to change your password frequently.

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