(WFRV) – Since the arrival of the Omicron variant, there has been a rise in COVID-19 cases and an increase in demand for at-home COVID-19 tests; and like all things that are in popular demand, scammers have seen an opening and are back up to their old tricks.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), scammers are now selling and advertising fake COVID-19 test kits that either never come and if they do, have not been approved by the FDA.
“I think there are two things that are really going on here that we want to warn people about. One is that companies are marketing tests for COVID-19 testing that are not approved by the FDA so they could provide you with false results, the other is that as with any other thing in the news, scammers are taking advantage of that and so they are also marketing to consumers for COVID-19 tests. They will collect personal information like your credit card number, your birthdate, maybe even your Medicare number, and then they don’t provide the tests at all,” shared BBB representative, Susan Bach.
BBB officials explain that the scam works by the consumer receiving an unsolicited robocall or text message directing them to a website that seemingly looks like a clinic or medical supply company offering COVID-19 tests.
These fake at-home test kits are advertised as being able to identify if a person has or had been infected with the virus, with some of the test kits even promising results in 10 minutes.
And to receive these too good to be true tests, the consumer must provide a credit card number or a form asking for their personal information.
The scammer then steals the consumer’s personal information and either sends them a faulty at-home COVIDA-19 test or doesn’t.
Officials note that if the consumer does end up receiving the non-FDA-approved tests, they will not receive the accurate results they were hoping for.
Now, experts are advising consumers to do their research and make sure that the particular test kit they plan to purchase has been approved by the FDA.
“The best place to start if you need a COVID-19 test is to consult with your doctor first if you can’t get through to your doctor then go to your local health department to see what they would recommend, but if you’re at your local pharmacy and you see a test kit on the shelf, you want to make sure that you do a little bit of research first, the FDA has a list of approved COVID-19 test kits on their website,” said Bach.