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Beware of fake COVID-19 testing kits and sites

BBB and FTC issue warnings
COVID-19 negative test
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 18:37:17-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Finding a COVID-19 at-home test can be difficult, and many people are waiting in long lines for hours to get tested in-person.

Scammers know this, and that’s why the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission are both issuing warnings about fake COVID-19 tests.

The BBB Serving Central Indiana is seeing an uptick in scam reports about COVID-19 testing.

“Across the country people are submitting reports to the BBB Scam Tracker related to these pop-up COVID-19 testing sites and not getting results back in a timely fashion as promised or at all,” said Jennifer Adamany, director of communication at the BBB Serving Central Indiana.

Fake and unauthorized testing kits are also popping up online as well.

Some red flags to look for include if the company is requesting sensitive information like your Social Security Number.

“Any time there's a pressure tactic, don't fall for it,” said Adamany. “There's a high demand for it but be patient so you can make sure you are getting a valid test."

The BBB recommends searching the company’s name before buying and the word “complaint” or “scam.”

It may also be a red flag if you can’t find any information on the company.

“You can also go to BBB.org and look for information on the company,” said Adamany. “If they popped up out of nowhere that could be a concern. You can also look up on the FDA website and state health department website for valid testing locations."

If you’re buying an at-home test online, make sure you pay with a credit card.

“It's a lot easier to make a dispute and get that money back as opposed to debit, checking account, cash,” said Adamany. “If at any time they ask you to pay with a gift card that is a huge red flag."

Using a fake COVID-19 test isn’t just a waste of money, it increases your risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 or not getting the appropriate treatment, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC provided the following tips to consumers:

  • Make sure the test you’re buying is authorized by the FDA. Check the FDA’s lists of antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests before you buy to find the tests authorized for home use. (EUA is “emergency use authorization.”)
  • Check out a seller before you buy, especially if you’re buying from a site you don’t know. Search online for the website, company, or seller’s name plus words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review.”
  • Compare online reviews from a wide variety of websites. You can get a good idea about a company, product, or service from reading user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites. Think about the source of the review. Ask yourself: Where is this review coming from? Is it from an expert organization or individual customers?

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