BBB Scam Alert: Want a COVID-19 test? Look out!
Some new studies show that up to 50% of people with COVID-19 show no symptoms; 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.
“Sadly, COVID-19 is a scammer’s dream come true,” said Barry N. Moore, President & CEO of the BBB serving Central Virginia.
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. 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 to provide information about how the test works, where it’s 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 your money and your personal information.
How to Avoid Fake Coronavirus Tests
- 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.
- Research before buying. Scammers put pressure on people to commit without giving them time to research. Research any claims the company makes. Search BBB.org to see they’re BBB Accredited, have good reviews, and no 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 personal information with strangers. Only make purchases and share personal information with people you know and trust.
For More Information
To learn more about scams related to the coronavirus and how to protect yourself, see BBB.org/Coronavirus. To read up on some general tips for avoiding scams, visit BBB.org/AvoidScams.
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.
About BBB: BBB serving Central Virginia serves Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg, as well as 42 surrounding counties from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest, and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of BBB include business profiles, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, scam warnings, consumer and business education, and charity review.