BBB Scam Alert: Beware of COVID-19 test scams

Upstate N.Y. Better Business Bureau
Consumers are warned about fake contact tracing attempts that ask for your mailing address and credit card information to send a testing kit.

Since the arrival of the Omicron variant, there's been an increase in testing for COVID-19. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned people of fraudulent coronavirus tests, vaccines, and treatments as the pandemic continues.

Scarcity often leads to potential scams for a product that doesn't exist, the compromise of personally identifiable information, or the increase of deceptive advertising.

The Better Business Bureau is warning of text message scams related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Better Business Bureau has tips to help you avoid fraudulent COVID-19 tests:

  • Want a test? Talk to your doctor. Reach out to your healthcare provider. They can help 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 county health department for more information on testing availability.
  • Research before buying. Scammers put pressure on people to buy or commit without giving them time to do further research. Before agreeing to anything, investigate first. Research any claims the company makes. Start with searching BBB.org to see they are BBB Accredited, have good reviews, and if there are complaints or scam reports associated with their business name. In addition, review the warnings on FBI, Federal Trade Commission, The NYS Attorney General, and BBB ScamTracker.
  • Understand all options: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a detailed guide to testing for COVID-19. Understand the different tests available.
  • Never share your personal information with strangers. Only make purchases and share your personal information with people and companies you know and trust.
  • Check claims of FDA approval. Per the FBI, "Not all COVID-19 antibody tests have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their efficacy has not been determined." Check the FDA website for a list of approved tests and testing companies.

For More Information

Better Business Bureau

BBB has additional tips for avoiding scams on BBB.org/spotascam and the BBB news feed.

If you’ve been the victim of a scam, please report it on the BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others to stay alert and avoid similar scams.