ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL URGES OFFERUP TO STOP SALES OF FAKE VACCINATION CARDS
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today led a bipartisan coalition of 42 attorneys general in calling on OfferUp, an online mobile marketplace, to act immediately to prevent fraudulent or blank COVID-19 vaccine cards from being sold on its platform.
Raoul and the coalition issued a letter to the company raising concerns about the public health risks posed by these fake cards. The fake cards appear to be official because they include the logos for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services. However, using these deceptive cards violates state laws which provide for injunctive relief, damages, and other penalties for such conduct.
"The COVID-19 vaccine is critical to stopping the spread of the coronavirus and offers the best path for our return to normal. I urge OfferUp to take action to prevent its site from being utilized to spread false information that threatens the progress we are making in battling the COVID-19 pandemic," Raoul said. "I am committed to protecting the health and safety of Illinois residents by halting the availability of fake vaccination cards and working to ensure scammers do not have the opportunity of using information from real vaccination cards to take advantage of people."
In their letter, Raoul and the attorneys general point out the public health dangers of individuals using the cards to claim to be vaccinated when they are not. Raoul and the coalition are urging OfferUp to take the following action:
In addition to the letter to OfferUp, Attorney General Raoul recently sent a cease and desist letter to Bologna Novelty, a Chicago area company that was selling fake vaccine cards on both Craigslist and the company's own web page on Shopify. Raoul also previously joined a coalition of 47 attorneys general in calling on Twitter, eBay and Shopify to take action to prevent people from selling fraudulent vaccine cards on their platforms.
Attorney General Raoul also cautions Illinois residents to be vigilant and protect themselves from scams and fraud related to COVID vaccination cards. Raoul previously urged people to avoid posting images of vaccination cards on social media, as they include personal information that scammers can use to steal money and information.
Raoul is also urging people to avoid websites that claim to sell vaccination cards or doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Illinois public health officials are overseeing the vaccine's distribution, and residents will be able to receive the vaccine only through a designated health or vaccine clinic. Consumers also should be aware that Medicare or Medicaid will not call seniors or residents to proactively offer the COVID-19 vaccine. Residents should consult their health care providers or local health departments for guidance in determining when the vaccine will be available to them. A list of local health departments is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website.
Additional vaccine information is available free of charge on the Illinois Attorney General's website and on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website. Individuals can report a website selling fake vaccination cards or a vaccination card scam by calling the Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-386-5438 (Chicago), 1-800-243-0618 (Springfield), or 1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale), or by filing an online complaint.
Joining Raoul in the letter are the attorneys general of Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming