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Social Media Identity Theft and Vaccination Cards

2 min read

Micah Stevenson

Posting a selfie with your
COVID vaccination card could
put you at risk

If you're searching for "ways to protect my identity," start by resisting the temptation to post a selfie with your COVID vaccination card. Within moments of getting their vaccines, social media users have flooded timelines with photos of this badge of honor, but online security experts say this could put you at risk for social media identity theft. Even the Better Business Bureau has advised against posting a selfie with your vax card, citing the risk of identity theft as well as the potential for scam artists to copy cards.

Protecting your identity starts with settings

Social media users can be subject to additional risk of social media identity theft when posting their vaccination cards if they maintain lax privacy settings on their accounts. Many users don't consider the possibility that publicly viewable accounts can be mined for information that is valuable to cybercriminals, who can sell such information online and use it for scams. Often, social media users don't realize how much personal information they are sharing, and over time that information accrues. The COVID vaccination cards are of particular concern because they contain a lot of information in a single place, including the patient's name, birth date, where and when they were vaccinated and the type of vaccine they received.

Other risks and how to share your excitement
about getting vaccinated

The risks associated with sharing your vaccination card online extend beyond personal identity theft. Scammers can also use the photos to create copycat vaccine cards, forging them and potentially selling them. Really, would someone actually pay money for this information? Yes, your name with your date of birth has a lot of value for online scammers. In Europe, scammers were caught selling fake vaccination cards on eBay for the equivalent of about $2 in U.S. dollars, so the Better Business Bureau believes it's only a matter of time before something similar occurs in the U.S.

Looking for "ways to protect my identity?" Start with your privacy settings on your social accounts. By restricting access to your approved followers or very specific circles of friends and family, you will better protect your personal information. Yet even with your privacy settings at a high level, it's a good idea to limit health information and other personal data when you post on social media. After all, your followers' privacy settings play into the protection of your information, as does the security of the social site itself.

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