Attorney General Chris Carr warned Georgians who had received their COVID-19 vaccinations to not share photos of their vaccine cards on social media due to potential identity theft.
During Identity Theft Protection Week, Attorney General Carr asked Georgians to heed his warnings on the potential dangers of sharing news of their COVID-19 vaccinations through sharing photos of their vaccine cards, a practice that has recently raised alarms with the threat of identity theft.
“I strongly encourage all Georgians to get vaccinated for COVID at the appropriate time, but cannot discourage them enough against the posting of their vaccination cards on social media,” said Attorney General Carr. “This new trend of doing so, however well-intentioned, could lead to their full names and birthdates falling into the wrong hands.”
COVID-19 vaccine cards not only provide confirmation of a holder’s receipt of the vaccine, but also contain the holder’s full name and date of birth. According to officials, information such as this allows identity thieves to apply for loans or credit cards under the cardholder’s name or possibly even hack accounts wherein people may use birth dates as password or PIN’s.
Officials recommend that those looking to share news of their vaccinations to do so more safely by updating their status or posting a photo of their vaccination sticker.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division offered a number of online safety tips to mitigate the risk of identity theft:
- Avoid listing the following information publicly: date of birth, hometown, home address, year of your high school or college graduation, primary e-mail address.
- Only invite people to your social network that you know or have met, as opposed to friends or friends and strangers.
- Never, ever give out your Social Security number or driver’s license number.
- Consider unique user names and passwords for each profile and don’t share them with anyone.
- The longer the password is, the stronger it is. Using a mix of letters, numbers and special characters also makes a password harder to crack.
- Check your credit card and bank accounts regularly for any charges you do not recognize. Notify your financial institution immediately if you see an unauthorized transaction.
- Monitor your credit reports regularly to look for any accounts you don’t recognize. To access your free credit report, go to annualcreditreport.com. To prevent someone from opening a new account in your name, consider placing a credit freeze with each of the three credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax).
- Look out for phishing emails, texts or links that ask you to provide your Social Security number, birth date, financial account information, user name or password. Scammers may be posing as legitimate businesses or acquaintances of yours to try to steal your money.
Those who believe they may have become a victim of identity theft are asked to visit identitytheft.gov to report it and get a recovery plan. Additional tips and resources on identity theft can also be found at consumer.ga.gov.