Unauthorized COVID-19 tests are popping up online. How to avoid getting scammed

As COVID cases continue to rise, officials are now warning about fake COVID-19 tests. News4Jax anchor and reporter Brianna Andrews breaks down four things you should know before buying an at-home testing kit.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Unauthorized testing kits are popping up online as scammers try to take advantage of the demand for COVID-19 testing.

Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission suggests to avoid falling for a scam:

  • Only buy tests authorized by the FDA -- you can find a list of those on the FDA’s website
  • Check the FDA’s list of fraudulent COVID products to ensure the test you’re about to buy isn’t on there
  • Look at a variety of sellers and compare reviews from expert sources
  • If you do buy a testing kit online -- use a credit card so you can dispute the charge if it’s a scam

You can click here for a full list of FDA verified testing companies.

The U.S. Secret Service is also focused on fighting COVID-19 related scams.

Special agent Roy Dotson is the head of Secret Service’s Jacksonville field office. He stresses the importance of staying vigilant.

“It comes down to us being able to identify different mediums that they can use, obviously with the modern conveniences today of online banking, cryptocurrencies. This allows fraudsters to move monies much more quickly. And fast money equals fast crime,” said Dotson.

In nearly two years of the coronavirus pandemic, the US Secret Service seized more than $1.2 billion in relief funds obtained by scammers.

The Secret Service says so far, they’ve managed to return more than $2.3 billion in ill-gotten gains. One hundred people have been arrested at this point.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.