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Some of you are celebrating your second COVID-19 vaccination with the giddy enthusiasm that’s usually reserved for weddings, new babies, and other life events. You’re posting a photo of your vaccination card on social media. Please — don’t do that! You could be inviting identity theft. 

Your vaccination card has information on it including your full name, date of birth, where you got your vaccine, and the dates you got it. When you post it to Facebook, Instagram, or to some Sticker with an orange background. It says, "I got my COVID-19 vaccine!"other social media platform, you may be handing valuable information over to someone who could use it for identity theft.

Think of it this way — identity theft works like a puzzle, made up of pieces of personal information. You don’t want to give identity thieves the pieces they need to finish the picture. One of those pieces is your date of birth. For example, just by knowing your date and place of birth, scammers sometimes can guess most of the digits of your Social Security number. Once identity thieves have the pieces they need, they can use the information to open new accounts in your name, claim your tax refund for themselves, and engage in other identity theft.

Want to share the news about your vaccination? How about a photo of a nifty adhesive bandage on the injection site? (You can show off your tattoos and deltoids at the same time.) Or, post a photo of your white or orange vaccine sticker. The stickers are really cool.

As for your social media networks, be sure that you’re not oversharing information that can serve as a key to your PIN number or answer a security question. And, while you’re checking, check your privacy settings too. If you want to limit access to a small group of family and friends, make sure the settings are configured to avoid sharing information with strangers.

Visit How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure for more tips about protecting your information against identity thieves.



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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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February 05, 2021
Thank you for this timely and important advice. It's wonderful to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and is certainly a reason to celebrate. But pictures of vaccination cards or other personal info on social media sites does indeed offer potential thieves the chance to steal information they should not have.
February 05, 2021
Thanks. I go one step further. Don't know if it helps prevent ID theft. I just don't use social websites. Not even sure what they do. I email friends and relatives so I don't have to use the regular mail.
February 05, 2021
People share way too much these days.
Jill from the Hills
February 05, 2021
While reading this article, it just "dawned" on birthdate, sans the year, is on FB. Well, I just told everyone I turned 65....duh, of course anyone can figure out my birthdate! Oh my!
February 05, 2021
Great information. Wish everyone could be informed by you. I try to remind my family and friends to check with FTC about scammers and other security items being brought to forefront. Just now recognized my birthdate is on my Covid-19 Record Card. Thanks so much!
February 07, 2021
Names and birthdates can certainly help identify an individual, but having someone's name and date of birth, along with other information, isn't proof that the person who has it is the person named. Plenty of people have plenty of informarion about me, butnthat doesn't mean they are me. When is the FTC and other regulartory agencies going to take these lax business practices seriously and crack down on them? Either this isn't a real issue, or the FTC has its priorities confused. There are states in the union that let anyone get a birth certificate for anyone else with basic informarion and no proof of identity. They are public records. While I appreciate the concern, I'd rather see action that will do something useful. This is just fearmongering.
FTC Staff
February 09, 2021

In reply to by quux

If someone has your name, birthdate and other information, they can use that to open new accounts in your name. Or take out loans, get a job, or collect unemployment insurance, any of which might lead to tax identity theft issues.

In 2020 alone, 1.4 million people reported identity theft to the FTC, including more than 400,000 people who learned someone had misused their personal information to commit government documents or benefits fraud. 

J. N.
February 07, 2021
"The stickers are really cool." HAHA Not a hater here, just got a kick out of that sentence. Cheers
February 16, 2021
Never has a press release made me chuckle at the way it is written. That brightened my day.
August 18, 2021
How do you turn in someone who has a fake Covid card?