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We know you’re excited, but please don’t post your vaccination card

Experts warn that putting that coronavirus vaccination card on social media can give scammers your personal info.
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services employee holds a COVID-19 vaccine record card in Washington, D.C.  If you get one, don't post a picture of it, officials say.
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services employee holds a COVID-19 vaccine record card in Washington, D.C. If you get one, don't post a picture of it, officials say. [ EJ HERSOM | Defense.gov ]
Published Feb. 2

So you finally got your COVID-19 shot, a step toward the world turning normal again.

You want to celebrate the milestone and encourage others. You want to take it to Facebook or Instagram, to post a picture of yourself holding up that vaccination card they gave you. Who could blame you?

Don’t do it, experts warn. Because this of-the-moment, trendy post that’s making the rounds could unwittingly help scammers looking to steal your identity, the Better Business Bureau is warning.

“If your social media privacy settings aren’t set high, you may be giving valuable information away for anyone to use,” said the non-profit organization that provides consumer information.

People getting their first COVID-19 shot are given a rectangular white card to keep track of the vaccines they have received. On that card is the person’s name and date of birth, along with the type of vaccine they got and where they got it.

Firefighter Henry Hsieh, right, picks up a vaccination card before getting his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a fire station in Los Angeles,
Firefighter Henry Hsieh, right, picks up a vaccination card before getting his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a fire station in Los Angeles, [ JAE C. HONG | AP ]

Your name and birth date may seem harmless enough. But sophisticated scammers can use scraps of personal information as stepping stones to commit fraud or access your finances.

“No information is worthless information,” said Richard Lawson, a Tampa attorney and former director of the consumer protection division of the Florida Attorney General’s Office. “Anything can be added to other data that you really just don’t appreciate is out there.”

So don’t give scammers a head start with a well-intended selfie, officials say.

Another potential pitfall: In Great Britain, scammers have been caught selling fake vaccination cards on TikTok and eBay, the Better Business Bureau said. And you can expect that kind of fraud to land here.

“Posting photos of your card can help provide scammers with information they can use to create and sell phony ones,” the Better Business Bureau said.

Post-vaccination, Kevin Watler, public information officer for the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, put a picture of himself on Instagram, masked and holding up his card to let people know he wasn’t afraid to get the shot and to encourage others.

But his index finger artfully covers personal details on the card. “You don’t want all the information out there, full name and date of birth,” he said.

Some options for those who want to post their news and motivate others: If the place you got your shot hands out “I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine” stickers similar to the “I Voted” version at election time, consider posting a picture of that. Or snap a photo of your bandage — you earned it.

Georgette Moon receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the county health department in Tuskegee, Ala.,
Georgette Moon receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the county health department in Tuskegee, Ala., [ JAY REEVES | AP ]

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