You may have noticed that nestled in with baby announcements, social-distancing birthday photos and dog snaps, social media posts are now also featuring people celebrating getting their COVID-19 vaccinations.
It’s natural that after a year of living under pandemic restrictions people are eager to share their experiences with the shot. One thing you should avoid posting, however is a photo of your vaccination card on social media because identity thieves may be watching.
After your vaccination, your provider gives you a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you’ve received, the date you received it and where you received it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cards are printed in English and Spanish and are intended to help you keep track of both of your vaccine doses. Because the card also includes personally identifiable information, it’s important to refrain from showcasing it on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or any other social platform.
Posting any personal information – such as your date of birth, address, Social Security number, and even details about family members (like children’s names and dates of birth) – can give thieves the information they need to hack into accounts or commit identity theft or fraud.
Other types of personal documents that can jeopardize your identity and put you at risk if shared online include boarding passes; paychecks; credit cards; birth certificates; health insurance cards; medical records; driver’s licenses and even work emails.
Last year alone, 1.4 million people reported identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission, including more than 400,000 people who learned someone had misused their personal information to commit government documents or benefits fraud.
Identity theft works like a puzzle, made up of pieces of personal information. Posting sensitive information gives identity thieves the pieces they need to finish the picture.
Once identity thieves have the pieces they need, they can use the information to open new accounts in your name, take out loans, get a job, or collect unemployment insurance, any of which might lead to identity theft.