How to Spot a Fake COVID-19 Test Kit

Scammers are attempting to sell faked COVID-19 testing kits online, according to experts. They argue that you can defend yourself by browsing for a list of FDA-approved tests on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. They also advise against supplying too much information to an online retailer, as some fraudsters are attempting to get personal information for use in identity theft in the future.

Scammers are also putting up bogus COVID-19 testing locations in pop-up tents or other temporary facilities, according to experts. Because of the fast spread of the Omicron variant, there has been an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing. Scammers have taken note, with some offering phony COVID-19 test kits online, while others utilize fraudulent testing sites to defraud unwary customers and even collect personal information for future use in identity theft schemes.

“It’s a serious issue. “These tests are not only a waste of money, but they also raise the danger of disease transmission and users not receiving necessary medical care,” Dr. Emily Volk, president of the College of American Pathologists. “With a paucity of testing choices accessible, customers have gotten desperate, and a number of unscrupulous actors have developed to profit on this vulnerability,” said Justin Simons, CEO and creator of licensed and accredited COVID-19 testing facility Mylabsdirect. “A number of fly-by-night organizations have contacted us, asking how much we would pay them to deliver us samples. The great majority have no prior experience in healthcare.”

How to Purchase a Legitimate Test

There are a few basic steps you may take to avoid being duped by a bogus COVID-19 exam. Whether you’re contemplating about buying a COVID-19 at-home test kit online, it merely takes a few minutes to check the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website to see if it’s authentic or fraudulent.

Every SARS-CoV-2 antigen diagnostic test authorized under the FDA’s emergency use authorisation (EUA) procedure is listed as a Trusted Source on the FDA’s website. The list covers a variety of test kits as well as product brand names for easy identification.

“Scammers often pretend that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the test being given to you,” said Steven Weisman, publisher of the site. “Before taking or purchasing any coronavirus test, be sure it’s FDA-approved and consult with your primary care physician.” You should also only purchase the tests from trustworthy sources, and be very cautious when obtaining them online.” Dr. Eric Cioe-Pea, the head of Global Health and an emergency physician at Staten Island University Hospital in New York, that “it is nearly hard to detect whether a test is false or not just by looking at it.”

“The FDA website is the best resource for customers to determine if the goods are FDA allowed and not [from] a known… business that has gotten FDA warning letters for manufacturing misleading tests,” he added.  Choosing where to purchase your at-home test may also assist prevent against fraud, according to Geoff Trenkle, D.O., co-founder of Total Testing Solutions, which performs COVID-19 testing in the Los Angeles region.

“You should not buy any COVID-19 Antigen over-the-counter (OTC) test kit unless it comes from a trustworthy source”. “Street sellers are an instant red flag since they either purchase from other sources and mark them up significantly, or they use bogus test kits in old boxes.” Shady merchants may also be selling test kits from abroad that have not been authorized by the FDA, according to Trenkle.

“If you can’t discover a business license or other documentation that they’re a reputable company, don’t purchase test kits from them,” he says. “Packaging should also not be in foreign languages, and all kits should be delivered in boxes rather than separate bits or plastic bags.” Volk advised against purchasing test kits online unless they are purchased from a reputable seller, such as big pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.

Scammers, according to Weisman, “are skilled at promoting fraudulent antibody tests through social media, email, and phone calls.” “They even go door to door offering these phony exams,” he said. “You should be suspicious of any antibody test given via these channels.” You should also be suspicious of anybody who approaches you promising a free coronavirus antibody test or even offers to reimburse you for doing such a test, since these claims are often made by fraudsters looking to collect information from you in order to make you a victim of identity theft.”

How to Recognize a Fake Testing Site

Many healthcare systems have increased community-based testing options in response to the Omicron surge, typically giving fast antigen tests. Scammers, on the other hand, have put up pop-up tents or stores claiming to be “COVID-19 Test Sites” in certain cases.

How can you determine the difference between a legitimate and a fake test site?

“The most of reliable sites are listed on county and municipal emergency management websites”. Ask the testing location which lab will be processing your test and get a copy of the processing lab’s CLIA number,” he adds. “You may look up this number online to find out where the lab is and how to contact them if you are having difficulties obtaining your findings or have concerns.” If you’re unsure, Volk recommends contacting your doctor to choose a COVID-19 testing site for you.

Scammers and the COVID-19 free test kit program

In an effort to fight the spread of the Omicron variety, the Biden administration has launched a multibillion-dollar campaign to distribute at least 500 million free at-home COVID-19 test kits. Every family in the United States is entitled to purchase up to four test kits from the website.

The United States Postal Service delivers the tests. Weisman, on the other hand, advises that “scammers will build up bogus websites that look to be the actual government website.” “The official government website merely requires your name and address,” he pointed out. “It does not request other information, such as your Social Security number, which may be exploited for identity fraud.”

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