CHICAGO — US Customs agents at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, already accustomed to seeing counterfeit jewelry and designer purses and drugs, are on the lookout for a new category of contraband — fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
According to officials, on Aug. 31, the shipment from China destined for an individual in Ohio arrived at the airport. Steve Bansbach with US Customs & Border protection described the latest seizure of inauthentic vaccination cards.
“We opened the package to ensure that the items inside were deemed admissible in the United States,” Bansbach said.
Immediately suspicious about misspellings on the package and lower grade paper, customs agents found 19 counterfeit CDC vaccination cards inside the package.
“People want to go ahead and sidestep the process and have these cards available so they can get into these events,” Bansbach said.
The demand for fake vaccination cards continues to spike, experts say. Agents have found 1,500 counterfeit cards in Alaska, with more seized in Memphis.
“From Oct. 1 of last year to Aug. 13 of this year, Memphis has seized 3,017 counterfeit COVID cards,” Bansbach said.
The FBI warning the public that possessing counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards violates federal law and is a punishable offense.