By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A growing market for counterfeit vaccination cards on the dark web has some experts worried that the sale of the fakes are putting everyone’s health at risk.

Check Point Verification Technologies has seen an increase in phony vaccine verification cards offered online.

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“We’re seeing a lot of this in the dark web marketplace, advertising for you to come, pay and get them,” Brian Linder, the firm’s threat prevention expert, told CBLA’s Jeff Nguyen.

The counterfeit cards have been spotted on prominent websites like eBay, Shopify and OfferUp just as many cities around the country, including LA, are loosening COVID-19 restrictions, allowing bigger indoor gatherings and seeing more people traveling.

Dr. Rita Burke, an Epidemiologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Preventative Medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine said that while people with the bogus vaccine cards may be able to get into a sporting event that requires the health verifications, they are putting other people’s health at risk.

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LA County’s Public Health Director acknowledged the emerging problem, but doesn’t believe the fraud is as widespread as others seem think.

“I think very few people are trying to create for themselves a bogus record for vaccination.  These cards do tie back to a database,” Dr. Ferrer told CBSLA.

According to an FBI warning, it’s illegal to have a counterfeit verification card and California’s Attorney General has been urging internet companies to get the fake vaccination cards off of their sites.

Purchasing one of the counterfeits can also open a person up to having their identity stolen since personal information, like full names and birthdates, are given to counterfeiters who place them on the card and have the records for themselves.

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“Your identity is liable to be sold on the internet,” Linden said. “It’s a big challenge. People don’t understand the impact it could have on their lives.”