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Syringes with COVID -19 vaccines lay in a tray during the Amazon employees Covid-19 vaccination event at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in North Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Attorney General Aaron Ford warned Nevadans on Monday about scammers selling fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards and said “awareness” is the first line of defense against those scams. 

People may use the fraudulent cards to misrepresent their vaccination status at work or school or may do so in order to travel or attend events.

“These deceptive cards threaten the health of our communities,” Ford said during a call with reporters and state health officials. “They delay our ability to protect from the virus, and they may violate many state laws. Providers who are lawfully authorized to administer the vaccine will give you a legitimate vaccination card on site.”

Ford said his office will prosecute people caught making and selling fake vaccination cards; however, he added that penalties would be determined on a case-by-case basis, as someone who sells one fake vaccination card would likely be treated differently from someone who makes and sells a thousand. Ford declined to comment on any ongoing cases involving scammers.

Those who purchase the cards also could face legal consequences if they are caught using the card for unlawful purposes, such as misrepresenting to an employer that they have been vaccinated.

Ford urged people to not post pictures of their vaccination cards online, as the cards contain personal identifiable information, including a person’s full name and date of birth.

“Every time I see someone post their card, I cringe because we have tried our best to let folks know that you should not post your vaccination card,” he said. Instead, maybe post a picture of a Band-Aid on your arm … We just advise folks, if you have a picture of a vaccination card up, take it down.”

On April 1, Ford, alongside 44 other attorneys general, sent a letter to the chief executives of Twitter, eBay and Shopify asking those companies to take immediate action to prevent the sale of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards on their platforms. And on Monday, Ford and 41 other attorneys general expanded those efforts by urging OfferUp to also take down ads or links that are selling cards — and to preserve information about the ads and sellers for possible investigations.

During Monday’s call, Ford asked Nevadans to report on his office’s website any encounters they have with fake vaccination cards. Nevadans can go to the state’s online appointment scheduler in order to receive a real vaccination and card.

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