Getting your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine feels like a new beginning, there is finally some assurance that things may soon be getting back to normal. If you have been on social media recently, you may have been flooded with photos and videos of people celebrating getting vaccinated. Instagram even offers a feature for users to add a sticker onto their stories to highlight their vaccination and share it with friends. Many users have been using this chance to proudly flaunt their vaccination cards.
While there’s no harm in celebrating, you should think twice before posting your vaccination card online.
The COVID-19 vaccination card conveniently contains all of your sensitive personal information and posting pictures of it online can put you at risk of identity theft. It contains your name, date of birth as well as the lot number of where you were vaccinated. This is all highly private information that you are sharing with the world.
You may think giving out your name and birthday is no risk, what would an identity theft be able to do with that information? The reality is that giving out any personal information can be dangerous. Giving out pieces of your identity can allow for identity thieves to slowly collect pieces of your personal information and then conduct malicious activity once they have enough information (i.e. open new accounts in your name, claim your tax refund, etc). In fact, to gain access to sensitive medical records, all you need are the medical record number, last name and date of birth - all of which are listed on the vaccination card. Cybercriminals can impersonate you and call your healthcare company to learn more about your medical history and records.
Beyond identity theft, posting your vaccination card online also puts you at risk of a phishing scheme. The vaccination card includes information regarding the lot number of where you got your vaccine. With the lot number, a cybercriminal could spoof an email from the address of the facility with an “urgent message” that was maliciously intended to steal your information.
Individuals who are more in the public eye (i.e. influencers, celebrities, etc) and have a larger following are at greater risk of cybercrime. However, don’t think that you are safe just because you are only posting to your private followers - security experts say that the people most likely to commit identity theft are friends and family.
This is not to say that you should not be celebrating getting your first dose of the vaccine. Other ways you can celebrate without sharing intimate details include taking a selfie with the vaccination sticker - this way you can still celebrate while staying safe.
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