Lollapalooza COVID rules: FBI warns against using fake documents to get in Chicago music festival

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Friday, July 23, 2021
FBI on alert for fake COVID vaccine cards, tests at Lollapalooza
The FBI is on the lookout for scammers using fake vaccination and test documents to bypass Lollapalooza COVID rules.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are concerns about a new scam for people attending Lollapalooza, but this year it's not about the tickets. It's fraud of a different kind in anticipation of people using fake documents to prove they are vaccinated.

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Grant Park is being transformed more and more into the land of Lollapalooza. The four-day festival kicks off next Thursday and is expected to draw 100,000 people a day to the music extravaganza.

However, with the strict requirements for entry this year, including either proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the day you plan to attend, health and law enforcement authorities are sounding the alarm about people who may be trying to get in with fake proof.

"The FBI has been taking this really seriously and investigating both people who are selling and people who are buying fake vaccine cards," said Chicago's top doctor, Allison Arwardy. "Look, we are not able to police absolutely everything... at some level we certainly expect people to do the right thing."

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In a statement, the agency said: "FBI Chicago reminds the public that the creation, purchase, or sale of fake vaccine cards by individuals is illegal, dangerous, and punishable with significant fines and prison time."

Experts said one way to deter that fraud is to have a universal system for proof of vaccination.

"The government, and it can't be individual private businesses, has to set up a verification system so you know who's verified. Verified and authenticated to actually have received the vaccine," said Vishnu Chundi, chair of the Chicago Medical Society COVID-19 Task Force.

Because Lolla is outdoors and has strict entry requirements, health experts are not overly concerned about the festival becoming any kind of COVID-superspreader event.

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However, they do have concerns about the crowds.

"I think it's congregation areas where people have to get checked in and ticketing, that's where you're going to have people crowd together to try to get in," Chundi said. "Once they're in, you've got a lot of space out there."

Organizers are encouraging people to bring their physical vaccination cards or negative COVID test results, and not screenshots on their phones, to speed the process.