U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Friday that it had seized thousands of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards in recent months as more and more businesses and local governments make rules to require proof of vaccination to enter certain public spaces.
According to a press release, CBP's office at the port of Memphis has seized more than 120 packages containing more than 3,000 fake vaccine cards in the past fiscal year.
"These vaccinations are free and available everywhere," said Michael Neipert, the CBP Area Port Director for Memphis. "If you do not wish to receive a vaccine, that is your decision. But don't order a counterfeit, waste my officer's time, break the law, and misrepresent yourself."
According to the CBP press release, the vaccine cards arrived in Memphis from Shenzhen, China and were slated to be sent across the U.S.
While the cards included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) logo and blanks for the recipient's birthdate, the vaccine maker, the lot number, the date of the shot and the place it was given, officials described them as "low-quality."
The CBP press release noted that the cards contained typos and unfinished words. In addition, some of the Spanish words on the back of the card were misspelled.
The CBP announcement comes as more and more cities, states and private businesses institute vaccine mandates.
New York City and San Francisco will soon require proof of vaccination to enter gyms, dine indoors at restaurants and take part in other similar indoor activities. Concert venues and musical acts are now requiring proof of immunization to attend shows across the country. Dozens of large, high-profile employers are now telling workers to get a shot or face termination.
The FBI has already warned that buying or making a fake COVID-19 vaccination card is a crime that is punishable by fines and up to five years in prison. They urge Americans not to post images of their vaccine card online as scammers could use the information on the cards to falsify records.