BBB Scam Alert: Want a COVID-19 test? There’s a scam for that
New findings show that about 25% of people with COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms, so many people are wondering if they had the disease without knowing it. Fortunately, an antibody test can identify if your body has already fought off the virus. Unfortunately, scammers are cashing in on demand and creating phony tests, according to BBB Scam Tracker reports.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning about potential fraud related to the antibody tests. Scammers are selling unapproved COVID-19 antibody tests, which can give inaccurate results. In doing so, they are also collecting personal information, such as Social Security numbers and dates of birth. They may also be stealing heath insurance or Medicare information that can be used in future schemes.
How the Scam Works
You receive a robocall or are directed to a website that looks like a clinic or medical supply company offering COVID-19 tests. These tests can allegedly identify if you’ve been infected with coronavirus – even if you’ve already recovered. Some even promise results in 10 minutes. To get a test, all you need to do is complete a form or, in other versions, enter your credit card details.
In some cases, the test involves an easy at-home testing kit. Other times, the tests are allegedly offered through a clinic. But in all versions, the person or website selling the test is short on details. They aren’t willing or able to provide any information about how the test works, where it is sourced, and what laboratory processes it.
Don’t fall for it! These tests are not US Food and Drug Administration approved and will not give accurate results. In fact, you may never even receive an actual test kit. Either way, scammers will have made off with your money and your personal information.
How to Avoid Fake Coronavirus Tests
- Want a test? Talk to your doctor. If you want an antibody test, reach out to your healthcare provider. They can help you 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.
- Do research before buying. Scammers put pressure on people to buy or commit without giving them time to do further research. Before you agree to anything, do some investigating. Research any claims the company makes. Start with searching BBB.org to see they are BBB Accredited, have good reviews, and if there are complaints or scam reports associated with their business name.
- Understand your options: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a detailed guide to testing for COVID-19. Understand the different tests available and what you need.
- Never share your personal information with strangers. Only make purchases and share your personal information with people and companies you know and trust.
- Check claims of FDA approval. Per the FBI, ,"Not all COVID-19 antibody tests have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their efficacy has not been determined." Check the FDA website for a list of approved tests and testing companies.
For More Information
If you’ve been the victim of a coronavirus related scam, please report it on the BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others to stay alert and avoid similar scams.
Still Need Assistance?
Contact Your Local BBB
Your local Better Business Bureau can assist you with finding businesses and charities you can trust. Find the BBB near you and check out the programs and services offered for consumers and businesses. Start With Trust?.