Vaccine card selfies are a bad idea, cybersecurity experts say

Local News

TAMPA (WFLA) – As more Floridians get vaccinated, many of them are posting their excitement on social media, often with a smiling face and their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

Cybersecurity experts say your face is fine—but the vaccine card is a bad idea, because you may be giving criminals more information than you know.

“It’s not just your photo,” said Tom Hyslip, a professor of cybersecurity at USF and former Secret Service officer who worked on cybercrimes for 23 years. “You’ve got geolocation tagging, time of day, where you’re at, and information in the background—your house, where you live, where you work.”

The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission have both issued warnings about posting vaccine cards on social media.

Even if you’re blocking out or blurring information you think is relevant, the FTC warns that thieves gather your personal information from different places, and you could be giving them the pieces they need to finish the puzzle.

“For example, just by knowing your date and place of birth, scammers sometimes can guess most of the digits of your Social Security number,” according to the FTC. “Once identity thieves have the pieces they need, they can use the information to open new accounts in your name, claim your tax refund for themselves, and engage in other identity theft.”

The risk isn’t just to you — the BBB says you could be leaving others more susceptible to fraud.

“Scammers in Great Britain were caught selling fake vaccination cards on eBay and TikTok,” according to the BBB. “Posting photos of your card can help provide scammers with information they can use to create and sell phony ones.”

Rather than your vaccine card, these experts suggest you post a picture of yourself getting the actual shot, or the sticker many vaccine sites are giving out.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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