Fake COVID-19 tests pop up across United States
JACKSON, Tenn. — Since the beginning of the pandemic we’ve seen COVID-19 scams regarding masks, tests, and more.
Now that tests are becoming more accessible, there are a few things you should look out for.
“We are seeing a record setting rise in COVID cases in the mid-south, specifically in West Tennessee. We have been warning people to look out for fraudulent COVID testing sites,” said Daniel Irwin, the Public Relations & Outreach Director for the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South.
There are fraudulent COVID-19 testing sites popping up all over the country. These sites are scam locations that are not real or ran by authorized personnel.
“They’re taking people’s personal information, including their social security number. Some cases credit card information, and in some cases actual health information. We’ve had some reports of people having to fill out entire health forms and insurance information, all of which can be used for identity theft that could fraudulently bill your insurance,” Irwin said.
Irwin says what’s happening is that people would see a long testing line and assume it is a real site. There they might have to fill out paperwork asking for personal information.
Irwin says one of the best ways to prevent being scammed is asking questions.
“When we got reports of this scam, those that recognized it was a scam, the entire thing fell part when they started asking the people at the location specific questions that they just didn’t have the answers to. And so that would be a big red flag,” Irwin said.
There are a number of websites that claim to have the official testing sites. However, web addresses ending in “.gov” are the most trustworthy.
“You should only go to the government site directly. There are a lot of fake search ads or fake ads that you can Google. So if you search something, you don’t really know you’re going to. So make sure you’re on the official government site,” Irwin said.
If you think you’re a victim of fraudulent COVID-19 test sites or at-risk for identity theft, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.
“The first thing being you need to contact one of the three commercial credit bureaus and put a freeze on your credit, and go and pull your credit just to make sure there’s nothing inaccurate on there. But be watching your credit pretty closely,” Irwin said.
To find out where official testing sites, click here.