Is it safe to post a selfie of your vaccination card?

COVID-19 vaccine card alongside syringe
Photo via Marco Verch Professional Photographer/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As vaccine rollouts in the U.S. continue, so does the flood of vaccine selfies shared on social media. But is it safe to post a selfie of your vaccine card? Experts say probably not.

Tech and privacy experts warn against posting vaccination cards on social media. The cards contain private information, including your full name, birthday, and vaccination site, all of which hackers or scammers may try to use against you.

“If you have a vaccine card, one of the things that people do (because they’re a badge of honor) is they share them online. And that’s a really, really, really bad idea,” Jake Milstein, cybersecurity expert and CMO at CI Security, told NBC Chicago. “It’s a bad idea because there’s a lot of personal medical information on that card and it’s important not to share it.”

Co-founder and CEO of SocialProof Security Rachel Tobac agrees. She noted that people tend to crop out the wrong portion of the vaccine card when posting online, which could put their information at risk. “This is what people think they’re doing when they crop the wrong part of their vaccine card pics. Their last name is in their Twitter handle and now I know their bday, medical record number, lot number, health care provider, vaccine provided and doctor’s name,” she wrote on Twitter.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says posting your vaccine card selfie online may make you more susceptible to identity theft. The bureau is also warning the public about scammers selling fake vaccine cards and even fake vaccinations online. 

As Carrie Kerskie, an identity theft consultant, told MarketWatch, “There are a lot of different things that could be done with it—so again, why give the bad guys more ammunition than they need?”

The BBB recommends sharing a selfie of your vaccination sticker, minus the card. The BBB also recommends reviewing your privacy settings on social media and avoiding sharing other personal information that could indicate your password online.

If you really do feel the need to post the vaccination card, Insider has some advice: “You should block your birth date, name, patient number, and the location at which you were vaccinated from the photo. You can blur the details, cover them with a line, hold your hand over the words, or use a fun sticker to protect the information.”

The bureau is urging people to report any COVID-related scams on its scam tracker. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI, and the Department of Justice are also all urging people to report any COVID scams.

Sources: Poynter, Better Business Bureau, TODAY, NBC

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