The New York attorney general, on Tuesday, called on social media platforms such as Facebook to act more against the online smuggling of fake COVID vaccine certificates, a phenomenon that worries the United States, by announcing the dismantling of a cell.
A total of fifteen people were indicted Tuesday by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, including a 31-year-old alleged supplier, suspected of selling about 250 vaccination certificates, for $200 apiece. All via the Instagram network where I signed up under the name @AntiVaxMomma.
Another suspect, a 27-year-old medical clinic worker, was charged with an additional $250, for entering fake vaccine names into the New York State Registry feeding a digital passport, l’Excelsior Pass.
The public prosecutor’s statement said that the other 13 defendants, who are suspected of having false certificates, work in institutions open to the public, such as hospitals and retirement homes.
“We will continue to protect public health in New York by launching investigations like this, but the risks of fake vaccination cards are too great to be dealt with with piecemeal procedures,” the attorney general said.
“We need companies like Facebook to take action to prevent fraud on their platforms. Making, selling and buying fake vaccination cards are serious crimes with serious public safety consequences,” added Cyrus Vance.
In New York State, the fourth most populous state (about 20 million people), vaccination will be mandatory for all caregivers in September and all state officials will also be required to give or receive a vaccination test every week.
For its part, New York City has made vaccination mandatory for access to nearly all indoor activities, from restaurants to movie theaters to gyms, but controls and penalties will take effect from September 13.
US authorities such as the FBI or the Federal Trade Commission have issued several official warnings against supplying or manufacturing fake vaccination cards, while voices have indicated that they are easy to make.
On August 13, customs at the Port of Memphis announced that they had seized 121 containers so far this year, containing a total of 3,017 counterfeit cards, goods routinely arriving from China.
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