Beware of COVID-19 Testing Scams

Posted on May 1, 2020 in Main

Beware of COVID-19 Testing Scams

Knowing that COVID-19 testing is in high demand, scammers are using the crisis to prey on victims unfamiliar with the testing process and steal their personal information.

The scammer may promise a free test or lie about the government mandating a test in their attempt to gain access to personal and health insurance information.  Once scammers obtain an individual’s private information, they use it to bill federal health care programs and/or private health insurance plans for tests and procedures the individual did not actually receive. Be cautious of any unsolicited offers that require or request your medical insurance information.

Below are facts about testing and ways you can prevent your personal information from being stolen.

 Home Test Kit Scams

  • No COVID-19 test kit to be completely used and processed at home has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the time of writing.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received reports of robocalls offering free virus test kits in an effort to collect personal and health insurance information. One version of this scam is targeting people with diabetes, offering a free COVID-19 testing kit along with a free diabetic monitor.
  • Do not purchase any test kit available on social media, through the internet, or to anyone going door-to-door. 

Test Site Scams

Use only approved testing sites affiliated with trusted hospitals and providers.

  • People have set up makeshift testing sites that can look real, sometimes outdoors as drive-through testing locations.
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has determined that fake testing sites are not following sanitation protocols, so they can potentially spread the virus.
  • Be wary of on-site personnel wearing painter’s clothing and uniforms resembling those worn by workers collecting hazardous material instead of legitimate medical personal protective equipment.
  • Report any fake testing sites at http://ftc.gov/complaint.

Phone Scams about Testing

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warns consumers to beware of individuals who contact you in person, by phone, or by email and falsely state that the government is requiring you to take a COVID-19 test.
  • These scammers will likely ask for your health insurance information, including your Medicare or Medicaid number, and other personal information.

COVID-19 testing is not available for everyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your health care provider will usually determine and order the test if you need it, so check with your doctor’s office if someone else offers you testing

Links for more information:

FDA FAQs on Diagnostic Testing for SARS-CoV-2

FCC COVID-19 Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips

FTC Not Every COVID-19 testing site is legit

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Evaluation & Testing page

FBI Warns of Emerging Health Care Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Pandemic