Fake coronavirus vaccine cards: Maura Healey, 41 other AGs sound alarm about third-party site

By Rick Sobey  | April 21, 2021

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and 41 other AGs are sounding the alarm about fake COVID vaccine cards being sold on a third-party website, and demanded the site immediately stop the sales.

Those who run the third-party site, OfferUp, say they “actively remove” the posts from its platform. A spokesperson said on Wednesday the posts are usually found and taken down in less than an hour.

The National Association of Attorneys General recently wrote a letter to the company, saying they learned that some users on the OfferUp platform are marketing and selling blank or fraudulently completed COVID vaccine cards. The cards have the logos of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The group of AGs said they were “deeply concerned about this use of your platform to spread false and misleading information regarding COVID vaccines.”

“The deceptive marketing and sales of fake COVID vaccine cards threaten the health of our communities, slows progress in protecting our residents, and are a violation of the law,” Healey tweeted on Wednesday.

“With a bipartisan group of 42 AGs, I am calling on @OfferUp to immediately stop these sales,” the Massachusetts AG added.

An OfferUp spokesperson responded to the letter from the AGs, confirming that these items are prohibited and that they “actively remove” these posts from the site.

“We also offered our assistance to law enforcement in addressing users who have attempted to post these items,” the company spokesperson said. “OfferUp specifically prohibited posts with vaccine cards in December 2020 when we became aware of this issue. As with other prohibited items, we use a combination of manual and computer automated review to find and remove these posts.”

“But to the extent that users see any posts that evade our detection, we ask that users tap the ‘Report’ button in the item description post so that our team can remove it,” the official said.

“We have only seen a small number of prohibited posts with vaccine cards, but we see this is a serious matter and have disabled any accounts that provide them,” the spokesperson added. “We are eager to cooperate with any law enforcement agencies who would be willing to pursue this matter.”

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By Rick Sobey  | April 21, 2021

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and 41 other AGs are sounding the alarm about fake COVID vaccine cards being sold on a third-party website, and demanded the site immediately stop the sales.

Those who run the third-party site, OfferUp, say they “actively remove” the posts from its platform. A spokesperson said on Wednesday the posts are usually found and taken down in less than an hour.

The National Association of Attorneys General recently wrote a letter to the company, saying they learned that some users on the OfferUp platform are marketing and selling blank or fraudulently completed COVID vaccine cards. The cards have the logos of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The group of AGs said they were “deeply concerned about this use of your platform to spread false and misleading information regarding COVID vaccines.”

“The deceptive marketing and sales of fake COVID vaccine cards threaten the health of our communities, slows progress in protecting our residents, and are a violation of the law,” Healey tweeted on Wednesday.

“With a bipartisan group of 42 AGs, I am calling on @OfferUp to immediately stop these sales,” the Massachusetts AG added.

An OfferUp spokesperson responded to the letter from the AGs, confirming that these items are prohibited and that they “actively remove” these posts from the site.

“We also offered our assistance to law enforcement in addressing users who have attempted to post these items,” the company spokesperson said. “OfferUp specifically prohibited posts with vaccine cards in December 2020 when we became aware of this issue. As with other prohibited items, we use a combination of manual and computer automated review to find and remove these posts.”

“But to the extent that users see any posts that evade our detection, we ask that users tap the ‘Report’ button in the item description post so that our team can remove it,” the official said.

“We have only seen a small number of prohibited posts with vaccine cards, but we see this is a serious matter and have disabled any accounts that provide them,” the spokesperson added. “We are eager to cooperate with any law enforcement agencies who would be willing to pursue this matter.”

READ MORE ON BOSTONHERALD.COM