PHILADELPHIA – Sometimes things are just too easy.
On Saturday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were conducting routine international parcel inspections for dangerous, illegal, or prohibited products when they encountered an obviously counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination card.
CBP officers immediately noted the vaccination card’s poor print quality, unclear logos of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS), and uneven borders. While fake vaccination cards are selling for as much as $200, the CDC reminds people that an actual vaccination is free.
The fake vaccination card was shipped from Bulgaria to an address in Stamford, Conn. Officers discovered the card was concealed inside of a greeting card which was inside of a shipping envelope. The contents were manifested as “documents.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, CBP officers across the nation have seized more than 30,000 counterfeit coronavirus vaccination cards from nearly 1,200 seizures. Locally, the Baltimore Field Office, which includes the Area Port of Philadelphia, has seized a combined 1,520 fake vax cards from 41 seizures.
Unvaccinated individuals who purchase fake vaccination cards put themselves, their loved ones, and their fellow Americans at risk of contracting COVID-19 or its more serious variants. The FBI has warned the public that buying, selling, or using counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards also breaks our nation’s laws.
“Coronavirus continues to pose a serious health and safety threat to American citizens, as do unscrupulous vendors who peddle counterfeit COVID vaccination cards and the unvaccinated people who buy them,” said Joseph Martella, Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Philadelphia. “Customs and Border Protection officers are extremely skilled at detecting cleverly concealed contraband and we will continue to intercept dangerous and illicit products that could harm consumers, our economy and our nation.”
CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.
Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.