What to Do if You Detect an Employee Has a Fake Vaccine Card

If a worker has given you fraudulent vaccination proof, here are the steps you can take.

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What to do if you detect an employee's fake vaccine card

Now that more offices are welcoming people back into physical office spaces, many employers are requesting that those returning are vaccinated. Legally, companies can make this request of their employees. If someone says they cannot get a vaccine (due to a disability or religious reasons), they can receive certain accommodations (such as needing to wear a face mask at work).

If your company requires proof of vaccination to be able to return to the office, what can you do if you suspect (or have proof) that your employee has shown you a fake vaccine card? Here we explore what to look out for, and what you can do if you discover a worker has presented you with fraudulent vaccination proof.

How widespread are fake vaccine cards?

First of all, you may be wondering how widespread fake vaccine cards are. Unfortunately, “The growth of the black market for fake vaccination cards has been exponential,” Ekram Ahmed, a spokesperson for Check Point Software Technologies, said in an interview with Stateline. The company also found that fake vaccine cards jumped from $100 to $200, after President Joe Biden announced that most federal workers would require a vaccination.

While it’s illegal to purchase fake documents, people are willing to take the risk and purchase these pricey fake vaccine cards on the black market and various social media sites.

How can you spot a fake vaccine card?

Because vaccine cards tend to be on paper, they’re unfortunately very easy to replicate. However, some things to look out for include the following:

  • Dates: Make sure the date aligns with the approval date of the vaccine, and that the shots were at least 3 weeks apart (or the correct time apart for the brand of vaccine they received).
  • Paper quality: Most vaccine cards are on thicker paper (not regular printer paper).
  • Spelling mistakes: There shouldn’t be any.
  • A mix of typed and handwritten information: Most legitimate vaccine cards have a mix of both printed and handwritten text
  • Handwriting: People usually receive vaccines a few weeks apart from different people. The handwriting should be different for both shots.
  • Card borders: The card should be clean cut.
  • Incomplete information: All fields should be completed.

Preparing to go back to back to the office

When preparing to go back to the office, your company want to mandate vaccinations. If this is the case, the first thing your company should do is send out a memo outlining this requirement. Make sure to also explain the consequences for breaking the rules (warnings, termination, etc). Your memo should also outline that fraudulent documents are illegal.

What can you do if you suspect your employee is showing you a fake vaccine card?

Here comes the tricky part: What can you do if you have a hunch the vaccine card your employee is presenting is fake? If you suspect something is off with the proof of vaccination, the first thing you should do is discuss these concerns directly with the employee in question. Provide an opportunity for them to clear up any discrepancies or mistakes. You’ll need to speak with them directly because vaccine providers won’t be able to confirm if the employee actually received the vaccine or not since that information is confidential.

If you suspect something is off with the proof of vaccination, the first thing you should do is discuss these concerns directly with the employee in question. Provide an opportunity for them to clear up any discrepancies or mistakes.

If you’re able to confirm the vaccination card is fake, or the employee admits it, there are steps you can take. The severity depends on your company’s rules. It’s not out of the question to fire the employee, but it also depends on the consequences your company outlined in the memo. It also depends what the vaccination rules are at the company level. For example, some companies mandate vaccinations, while others simply encourage it. If your company mandated vaccinations in order to come back into the office, terminating the employee might be the right course of action.

Follow through on your word

If your company sent out a memo mandating vaccines before returning to the office, and stated the consequences for failure to do so, you need to follow through on the disciplinary actions your memo outlined. If you’re lenient with the rules, even for a first time offender, it demonstrates to your employees that they do not need to take the rules seriously.

Fraudulent vaccine cards are both illegal and put the rest of your employees at risk; it is everyone’s responsibility to keep each other safe. Trust is a huge factor and pillar in companies. If everyone is operating under the assumption that those in the office received a vaccine, breaking that trust creates a significant rupture in your workplace. Your company should take fraudulent vaccine cards seriously, since it puts your worker’s health and safety at risk.

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