I-Team: Fake COVID-19 card scams on the rise

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found more COVID-19 con games with fake documents saying you’ve had the vaccine or tested negative for the virus.

A cybersecurity company tells the I-Team how it’s happening more often on the back alleys of the internet and a local woman has even seen it on the streets of Cleveland.

All of this comes to light as the number of COVID-19 cases has spiked up in Ohio and around the nation.

In short, what’s going on with the fake cards means more chances for you to say you got the COVID-19 shot when you didn’t get it.

One woman told the I-Team what she saw weeks ago out in the open at a restaurant on Cleveland’s west side.

“Out on the patio, there was a group of people with a stack of vaccination cards that were not filled out. They were passing them out to each other and filling them out for each other,” she said.

The I-Team also sat down with Brian Linder from an international cyber-security firm called Check Point. He reacted to word of the fake COVID cards seen at the restaurant.

“It doesn’t surprise me these things are even being sold on the corner there,” Linder said.

Back in May, Check Point showed the I-Team the underground market for fake vaccines and fake shot cards. Now, the number of people actually getting the vaccine keeps growing.

Still, Check Point also has seen an explosion of fake documents for sale so that you can lie about getting the shot or having a negative COVID-19 test.

These days, people might need to show they’ve had the vaccine for a job or travel.

“The number of groups that are selling, actively selling fake certificates, it has grown by an order of magnitude, and we’re also seeing many, many groups and the sizes of these groups growing,” Linder said.

You might wonder how much those fake vaccine cards cost online. Some offers show up with a price of less than $100.

However, the people watching this point out that a con artist selling those cards might be out to get your identity.

“These bad actors that are capturing data and selling these documents, they ought to be paying you for the data. They’re selling the data and profiting from it,” Linder said.

Selling fake cards is illegal, but when the I-Team recently responded to one ad, the seller wasn’t worried about getting caught.

Law enforcement has talked about investigating this, but very few people get caught dealing in the fake documents.

Much of the activity goes on in a part of the internet called the ‘dark web.’

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