Fake COVID-19 Tests: Illinois Residents Warned To Beware

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CHICAGO — With more Illinois residents searching for ways to avoid waiting in long lines to get tested for the coronavirus, the Federal Trade Commission is warning that there are plenty of home self-testing kits that won’t provide trustworthy results.

The federal agency issued a warning on Wednesday that fake and unauthorized home testing kits are being offered online “as opportunistic scammers” look to take advantage of the spike in new positive COVID-19 cases around the country.

The FTC said that not only do the fake tests fail to deliver legitimate test results for those who worry that they may have contracted the virus, but said they increase the risk of users unknowingly spreading COVID-19 to others, the agency said in a news release.

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COVID-19 Tests In Short Supply: How To Find One In Illinois

The FTC also offered the following tips to make sure that consumers are purchasing at-home testing kits that can be trusted:

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  • Make sure the test you’re buying is authorized by the FDA. Check the FDA’s lists of antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests before you buy to find the tests authorized for home use. (EUA is “emergency use authorization.”)
  • Check out a seller before you buy, especially if you’re buying from a site you don’t know. Search online for the website, company, or seller’s name plus words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review.”
  • Compare online reviews from a wide variety of websites. You can get a good idea about a company, product, or service from reading user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites. Think about the source of the review. Ask yourself: Where is this review coming from? Is it from an expert organization or individual customers?
  • Pay by credit card. If you’re charged for an order you never got, or for a product that’s not as advertised, contact your credit card company and dispute the charge.

Consumers who feel like they have purchased a test that doesn’t meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards can report claims of fraud here.

Other COVID Scams

Earlier this week, health officials in Lake County issued a warning that illegitimate testing sites were starting to pop up as the demand for COVID-19 increased. Health officials warned that if testing sites were asking residents to pay for testing, it is likely a sign that a scam is being perpetrated on those looking for tests.

Fake tests are among a growing list of scams surrounding the virus, which remains persistent in the United States and around the world, with COVID-19 infection rates remaining at record levels, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner, told ABC 7 it could be a “red flag” if the staff can’t answer whether the tests are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or which lab the results are being sent to.

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