“Under both federal law and state law, it is a crime to create, to sell, to buy, to use, or even to simply possess one of these false vaccination cards as long as you have the intent to deceive,” associate law professor Ian Farrell at the University of Denver told KDVR.
Farrell said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official seal on vaccine passports makes them illegal to create.
Using a fake vaccine passport could lead to fines and/or up to five years in prison.
Like fake IDs, fake vaccine passports may attract college students, whose universities have mandated that they receive the shot or undergo invasive and never-ending testing, WRAL reported.
Students and professors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have reported fake vaccine passports popping up.
“It is really disturbing the lengths that some students are willing to go to subvert the university requirements and really subvert their duty to their fellow students to keep everyone safe,” said Simon Palmore, a junior.
The shot’s negative side effects outweight the risk of COVID-19 for almost all healthy college-age people.
The federal government has teams in place to crack down on fake vaccine passports, and they have found people who manufacture and sell them on social media sites, messaging apps, especially Telegram, and the dark web, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Americans who oppose vaccine passports may still be able to get away with obtaining and using fake cards, however.
Fake passport sellers thrive on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app that does not cooperate with federal law enforcement.
The federal punishment for using a fake vaccine passport also does not apply in most cases because states and localities, rather than the federal government, have issued the passports.
State and local agencies cannot place the CDC’s seal on their vaccine passports, meaning that creating a fraudulent state or local passport cannot come with federal penalties, Pew Stateline reported.
Plus, state legislators say the FBI and federal prosecutors are more likely to track down and arrest the fake passport manufacturers rather than individual users.