COVID-19 testing schemes resurface, health officials urge consumer to be cautious

You can also report a potential scheme on the Better Business Bureau website

Hundreds of people are looking for quicker alternatives to get a COVID-19 test rather than waiting in seemingly endless lines, but health officials said taking the quick route could come with consequences.

The Florida Attorney General released a consumer alert Thursday, warning Floridians about reemerging COVID-19 test scams as omicron cases spike.

The report warns people may exploit the testing demand to steal personal, financial and or medical information.

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There are recent reports in Florida and nationwide of potential fake COVID-19 testing sites, imposter healthcare workers at legitimate sites and at-home testing scams.

Jeremy Lanier, a spokesperson for the Osceola County Health Department said the long wait times at county-supported test sites are worth it to avoid fraudulent activity.

Lanier said the department has received several reports from concerned residents about nearby pop-up testing sites.

“A lot of residents may be encouraged to use a pop-up testing site because of its convenience,” he said.

He said some sites have the potential to be fraudulent and it is up to consumers to protect themselves.

“If you go to a pop-up testing site make sure that you ask questions like: what laboratory do you send the tests to? Is there a customer support contact number?”

If a site worker asks you for sensitive information, like your social security number, Lanier said that is a big red flag.

Health officials said people should beware of fake testing kits, especially those sold online.

“Some of the most vulnerable are also the most susceptible to scams and fraud activities and that’s not limited to the elderly population but Spanish-speaking population and undocumented citizens who may want to take advantage of testing and vaccine opportunities,” he said.

Lanier is encouraging everyone looking for COVID-19 tests to use trusted resources.

Official information can be found on your local health department website.

If you have complaints about fraudulent activity relating to COVID-19 tests you can report to the Florida Attorney General.

You can also report a potential scheme on the Better Business Bureau website.


About the Author:

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.