Illinois’ new vaccine-verification portal is glitchy and uses a credit reporting agency with past security breaches to verify people’s identities

A health workers administer doses of CoronaVac vaccine to people at a vaccination center in Bangkok.
Illinois' vaccine portal is often unreliable.
  • Illinois' new vaccination portal allows people to look up their vaccine records online.
  • The website isn't entirely accurate and has shown people incorrect vaccination records.
  • Experian, which has exposed millions of personal data of millions, will help verify identities.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Illinois' new vaccine portal, which is supposed to let people look up their vaccine records online, often gives inaccurate information about vaccination statuses and uses Experian, a credit reporting agency with a history of security breaches, to verify people's identities.

With an increasing number of social events and employers requiring proof of vaccination, from Chicago Public Schools to the Illinois State Fair, Illinois Department of Health director Ngozi Ezike said the portal could help people prove their vaccination status when they need to.

But the portal's helpfulness is doubtful so far, since the website often gives people inaccurate information about their vaccination status.

When I tried to access my vaccination records (I got two doses of the Moderna vaccine in Illinois), the website showed that I had only received a single dose. Others vaccinated in Illinois experienced similar problems, with CBS Chicago reporting that the vaccine portal indicated for many people that they had received no COVID-19 vaccines when they were actually fully vaccinated.

The IDPH website noted that human error, such as providers typing in a name or address wrong, can prevent vaccination records from showing up properly on the site.

"At this time, it does not appear to be effective," William Kresse, a fraud expert at Governors State University, said. "However, given some time to make complete data entry, testing and verification, it could be a safe way for people to look up their vaccine records."

Experian, the credit reporting agency that the website uses to verify people's identities, has had several security breaches, including one in Brazil that resulted in millions of people's personal data being offered for sale online and another in South Africa leaked data of 24 million people and was caused by Experian giving personal information to a fraudster posing as a client.

Kresse said third parties are always at risk of mishandling data, which could make people's private information susceptible to theft or hacking attempts.

"Since 2017 all of the credit bureaus have added greater rigor to their systems. So I would not say that Experian's record - in and of itself - should be of any major concern."

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