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Better Business Bureau warns of fake COVID-19 testing sites

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 3:59 PM MST
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(CNN) - Not all testing centers are created equal. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about fake COVID-19 testing sites popping up across the country.

“We’ve noticed an uptick in complaints and reviews at various different testing sites around the United States,” said Sandra Guile, director of communications of the Better Business Bureau

The BBB says high demand for tests and scarce supply has opened the door to bad actors.

And health officials say that’s putting consumers at risk for identity theft, inaccurate or missing test results and financial losses.

“That’s the real risk right now, that people are going to get your personal information and then take that and try and get more money out of you,” said Gigi Gronvall, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “This is really something that government needs to step in to deal with because it’s really hard for the consumer to evaluate whether it’s a legitimate testing site or not.”

With some states having a hard time keeping up their oversight, the BBB has three recommendations to avoid getting scammed.

First is to do your research. Check your state and local health department’s website to find authorized, no-cost testing sites in your area.

Secondly, they say to read the fine print on any documentation you’re asked to sign.

“If it appears that they’re requesting things such as your Social Security number, your driver’s license or your insurance card, you might want to start asking questions,” Guile said.

Finally, the BBB says to watch out for look-alike websites. Fake facilities often spoof sites to make them look like well-known and trusted companies.

Remember, you can request free COVID tests from the government at COVIDtests.gov.

If you suspect you gave your Social Security number to a fraudulent testing site, the BBB recommends you report it to IdentityTheft.gov to protect yourself.

If you used a credit card to pay for the test, report that to your credit card company and dispute the charges.

Finally, report it to authorities and to your local Better Business Bureau.

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