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What can be done to fight fake COVID-19 documents

Vurus Outbreak New York
Posted at 9:36 AM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 09:37:51-04

With more places starting to require proof of vaccination, some people are trying to get around this requirement.

In the past week, two men were arrested after they used fake vaccine documents to get into Hawaii. Now, the state attorney general's office is investigating other incidents like these.

But experts say these types of incidents will likely keep happening.

“Because the vaccination cards are paper stock with black ink, it's very easy to duplicate. So, what we've heard and what we've read about is that it's very difficult to just distinguish a fake one from a real one,” said Mark Ostrowski, Head of Engineering at Checkpoint Software.

Right now, there's not much that organizations can do to verify whether a document is fake or not.

Some states do have technology in place that can verify whether someone has been vaccinated, but because the entire country is relying on paper cards with no watermark or anything else, the cards have been easy to duplicate.

Experts at Checkpoint Software say that QR codes could actually help solve the issue, even if we continue to use paper cards.

“If there's a sense of repository, at some level, that has a QR code that references an identity and a vaccination status that's complete, when you put those all together, that's the technology that's required to have 100% verification that you are who you are and you either have been tested positive, negative, or you've been vaccinated completely,” said Ostrowski.

Not all states have a system in place that would allow an easy transition to using QR codes, especially since people have been getting vaccinated since last year.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering