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BBB warns consumers about scammers selling fake COVID-19 tests, phony coronavirus cures

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 2:09 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ever since the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus started spreading like wildfire, getting your hands on a COVID test has been nearly impossible.

The 19 Investigative team is working with our partners at the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad to bring consumers a warning: Scammers are taking advantage of the latest need for tests by selling phony ones online.

Scammers are coming up with new and creative ways to profit off the pandemic. In some cases, they’re selling tests online that they’ll mail you that just simply won’t give you accurate results and in other cases, you’ll pay for a test and never even receive it. Not only that, but they’re also selling medications online that they claim will miraculously cure COVID or prevent you from ever getting it.

“We have heard of scammers who are contacting consumers claiming that they can provide testing and then asking you to go to a website where they’re trying to get all kinds of personal information from you and credit card, account information,” said Sue McConnell, president and CEO of the Cleveland Better Business Bureau.

McConnell says the best way to know for sure if a company is legitimate, check them out on the Food and Drug Administration’s website. They have a list of FDA-approved testing kits.

“Don’t fall for anybody contacting you saying that they can get you a test immediately or and then try to get information from you, or money from you,” McConnell said.

The FDA also has a list on its website of fraudulent COVID-19 products; a quick search shows dozens of phony at-home tests and so-called covid cures.

“COVID is still a real hot topic for scam artists and especially now when this new variant is just spreading so crazily, and we, you know, all of us are concerned and they know how to take advantage of our concerns,” explained McConnell. “Scammers are very adept at making themselves look legitimate. They can create a website that looks very professional, have medical professionals involved, and even have customer testimonials on there that seem very real. But it’s very easy to falsify all of that material. So, you need to be very, very cautious. You certainly don’t want to buy a test that is meaningless, that will give you meaningless results. You certainly don’t want to buy any kind of potion or pill that someone claims is going to help you get over this disease or keep from getting it.”

The BBB recommends checking with your doctor or your local health department for help finding a test.

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