On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned consumers about buying phony COVID tests online. The agency sent out a few guidelines on avoiding the scam, preventing waste of money and potential misdiagnosis from fraudulent or fault testing kits.
In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration alerted Americans to fake and unauthorized at-home test kits sold online as long lines formed at COVID sites ahead of a holiday spike in demand. Limited supply lead to opportunistic scammers, and the risk of spreading untreated COVID because of a bogus test. If you’re shopping online for a test, keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure the test you’re buying is authorized by the FDA
- Check the FDA’s lists of approved antigen and molecular diagnostic tests to find an authorized at-home kit
- Vet vendors by searching online for combinations of the website, company, digital storefront, or seller’s username with words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review”
- Compare online reviews from distinct sources–including experts, organizations, and inviduals–across different websites
- Pay by credit card so you can dispute a bogus charge
- Report scam sellers or fake tests to the FTC