The wait has been long. When you finally get that COVID vaccine shot you’re excited. You want to share the moment with your friends on social media. Watch out. There are smart ways to do it and there are ill-advised ways. The Better Business Bureau has some warnings and some tips on safe ways to protect your privacy and still share your excitement.
Don’t do this
Some social media users have been posting images of their COVID-19 vaccination card. It’s sort of the latest version of posting an “I voted” sticker. Unfortunately, that vaccination card has vital information on it that might be just what a scammer is looking for. (And don’t kid yourself. There are plenty of crooks who can figure out how to view your posts even though you think they are only going to be seen by “friends.”) Identity theft is made much easier by that information.
The card contains your full name and birth date. It also has information about where you got your vaccine. Depending on how high you have your media privacy settings, there’s a good chance you’re playing into the hands of a scammer. Crooks can harvest information about you from your social media posts that can be used for such things as figuring out your passwords. If they collect enough about you such as your high school, favorite pets, graduation dates and more, they can use the information in other places to get your Social Security number.
That’s why it isn’t even advisable to post your birthday online. Check your security settings on your social media accounts to be sure you are sharing a minimum of personal information.
Crooks do this
Reports are starting to come in from Great Britain of scammers caught counterfeiting vaccine cards. They then put them up for sell online. Predictions are that it will soon happen in the U.S. and Canada. When you post photos of your card you are inadvertently helping counterfeiters in their efforts.
What you can do
There are alternatives for those who wish to share their vaccine news online. Here are some ideas and some tips for keeping yourself secure from those out to steal your ID or images of your vaccine card:
• Share your vaccine sticker. CDC-designed stickers are given out with the vaccine in order to encourage others. Simply put a photo of that on social media.
• Use a profile frame that proclaims your status as vaccinated. A quick online search can show you the possibilities.
• Review your security settings. Check what you are sharing and with whom. If, for instance, you only want your friends and family to see your posts (a good idea!) look to see if that’s how your privacy settings are set.
• Watch out for prompts that ask you to share your personal favorites – songs, TV shows, etc. Such information is collected by those looking to guess your passwords or security question answers.
• Try to double check yourself before any share on social media. Information that could be useful to a scammer should be kept to yourself.
For other questions or concerns regarding social media posting, contact your the Better Business Bureau by calling 800-856-2417 or atbbb.org.