U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Memphis seized a stash of thousands of fake coronavirus vaccination cards printed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo. The cards had been shipped from Shenzhen, China, to people in various cities around the United States, including New Orleans, supposedly to be sold to unvaccinated people trying to skirt restrictions that require proof of vaccination.


CBP officials said they seized 121 packages containing over 3,000 fake cards as they arrived in Memphis, a key shipping hub here in the states.

Authorities said the cards were flagged because the packages were not sent by the CDC or another medical organization. They were also sloppy and contained typos, unfinished words, and even had bad translations of some of the Spanish words on the back of the cards.

Law enforcement officials say that as more cities such as New York City require proof of vaccination to be able to enter bars, restaurants and concerts, the demand for fake vaccine cards is rising.

Making or buying a counterfeit card is a federal crime that could result in fines and a prison sentence of up to five years, according to the FBI. They can also leave you vulnerable to identity theft. NBC Bay Area reports that thieves are using the fake vaccination cards as a way to access people’s private information.

On top of all that, it’s also an enormous drain on federal manpower.

“These vaccinations are free and available everywhere,” Michael Neipert, CBP area port director of Memphis, said in a statement. “If you do not wish to receive a vaccine, that is your decision. But don’t order a counterfeit, waste my [officers’] time, break the law, and misrepresent yourself.”