The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning to the public regarding fraudulent coronavirus tests, vaccines and treatments, according to a news release from the Better Business Bureau.

Earlier this year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning about potential fraud related to the antibody tests. According to the FBI, “scammers are marketing fraudulent and/or unapproved COVID-19 antibody tests, potentially providing false results. In addition, fraudsters are seeking to obtain individuals’ personal information (names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, etc.) and personal health information, including Medicare and/or private health insurance information, which can be used in future medical insurance or identity theft schemes.”

In the release sent by the Better Business Bureau, it detailed how the scam works. 

“Robocalls are sent out to consumers directing them to a website that looks like a clinic or medical supply company offering COVID-19 tests. These tests allegedly identify if a person has been infected with coronavirus – even if they’ve  recovered. Some even promise results in 10 minutes. However, to receive a test, a credit card or a form needs to be completed with personal information,” the release said. “In some cases, the test involves an easy at-home testing kit. Other times, the tests are allegedly offered through a clinic. But in all versions, the person or website selling the test is short on details. They aren’t willing or able to provide any information about how the test works, where it is sourced, and what laboratory processes it.”

The Better Business Bureau said the tests are not FDA approved and will not give accurate results.

Here are tips to avoid fake coronavirus tests and related scams:

– Want a test? Talk to your doctor or reach out to your healthcare provider. If you don’t have a primary care physician, visit the website of your local 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.

– Understand all options. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a detailed guide to testing for COVID-19 at https://tinyurl.com/a8y258kv.

– Never share your personal information with strangers. Only make purchases and share your personal information with people and companies you know and trust. Be wary of anyone approaching you in line; ask for credentials if necessary. If you suspect your personal information has been compromised, report it to identitytheft.gov.

– 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.

If you’ve been the victim of a scam, you can report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker.

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