FBI turns attention to COVID vaccine cards, says liars face jailtime

Ohio County

Some don’t want it, some say they have it, and others have cards to prove it. But now the FBI has been pulled in regarding the vaccination card’s legal backing.

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Tensions between fighting COVID-19 and the apprehension with the emergency-use vaccines remain uncomfortable throughout the country. 

7NEWS asked federal officials point-blank; Can you be charged for falsifying your own health records? The short answer is yes.

If you do not receive the vaccine, but falsify information, either by purchasing a fake card or by manufacturing one, you face jailtime.  

Federal Code 19, US Code 1017: Misuse of government seals and instruments wrongfully sealed. So, it can be a fine and punishable up to five years in prison.

Scott Argiro, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Pittsburgh Division, WV branch

The FBI agent is treating this similar to a fraudulent passport. 

While the vaccines are not federally mandated in travel, they do carry some weight with a stamp of approval. 

The trademark for Health and Human Services or the CDC is federally protected. 

“You’re causing danger to yourself and potentially to others. And similar to a trademark violation, where you’re misrepresenting like a VHS tape or a movie, it’s a trademark violation because you’re misrepresenting the company that made that item,” said Argiro. “It’s the same for the Center for Disease Control and Health and Human Services. You’re misrepresenting their actual vaccination process.”

Like a driver’s license where you can opt to receive an identification card to function in society, maybe we will see religious, medical and philosophical exemption cards. That will be a congressional decision. 

And for those who are proud to have the vaccine, the FBI warns this isn’t show and tell. 

“Do not post the card itself. It has very critical information on there. Your name, date of birth, location where you received the vaccination. Scammers on the internet are putting together those pieces of the puzzle to create identity fraud.”

Scott Argiro, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Pittsburgh Division, WV branch

Argiro says they haven’t seen as many vaccine card scammers around the Pittsburgh area, but they have been dealing with people taking PPE and reselling, which is a similar trademark violation. 

So, if you encounter fraud surrounding this pandemic, he says call 1-800-CallFBI 

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