With COVID-19 testing kits sold out everywhere you go, some scammers have taken advantage by selling fake kits. The Federal Trade Commission issued an alert on Tuesday warning consumers about the fake kits being sold online.
“The news is filled with images of long lines at in-person COVID testing sites and reports of limited supplies of at-home test kit,” reads the statement. “It’s not a surprise that, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, fake and unauthorized at-home testing kits are popping up online as opportunistic scammers take advantage of the spike in demand.”
They went on to say that using these fake products isn’t just a waste of money, it increases your risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 or not getting the appropriate treatment.
People are also being warned against dubious COVID treatments being peddled online including teas, oils and tinctures.
“It’s likely that the products do not do what they claim,” reads a FDA statement. “The ingredients in them could cause adverse effects and could interact and potentially interfere with medications to treat many underlying medical conditions.”
Here’s what you can do to make sure the testing kit you purchase is the real deal, according to the FTC:
- 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.
If you think you’ve purchased a fake testing kit, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.