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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

SCAM ALERT: Beware of fake COVID-19 test offers

The US Food and Drug Administration is warning people of fraudulent coronavirus tests, vaccines, and testing centers as the pandemic continues.

According to Centers for Disease Control, since the arrival of the Omicron variant, the increase in demand of COVID-19 tests has become a concern. Scarcity often leads to potential scams for a product that doesn’t exist, the compromise of personal identifiable information, or the increase of deceptive advertising.

How the Scam Works
You go online to find a Covid-19 test near you. Almost everything you find shows no available appointments, out of stock, or high prices. But then you find a website promoting free testing, with no appointment needed. This is exactly what you are looking for, so you go to the testing center. When you get there, they say you will have your results soon, but hours, then days pass and they never come.

This scam has been reported to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker in multiple states including Florida, California, and Kentucky.

How to Avoid Fake Coronavirus Tests
• Want a test? Talk to your doctor. Reach out to your healthcare provider. They can help figure out if the test will be covered by insurance and where to find a legitimate clinic. If you don’t have a primary care physician, check out the official website of your local health department for more information on testing availability.

• Research before buying. Start with searching the testing company or center name on BBB.org to see if they are BBB Accredited, have good reviews, and if there are complaints or scam reports associated with their business name. In addition, review the warnings on FBI, Federal Trade Commission, Attorney General’s office, and BBB ScamTracker.

• Understand all options: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a detailed guide to testing for COVID-19. Understand the different tests available.

• Never share your personal information with strangers. Only make purchases and share your personal information, such as date of birth, health insurance, and credit card information with people and companies you know and can trust.

• Check claims of FDA approval. Verify all claims of FDA approval by checking the FDA website for a list of approved antigen tests and molecular tests.

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