Beware of fake COVID tests online, FTC warns

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WASHINGTON (NEWS10) – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday warned consumers against purchasing fake COVID tests online. The agency has sent out some guidelines to avoid the scam, waste of money, and potential diagnostic errors from fraudulent or faulty test kits.

In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration alerted Americans to falsified and unauthorized home test kits sold online as long lines formed at COVID sites before soaring demand during the holidays. Limited supply leads to opportunistic crooks and the risk of untreated COVID spreading due to a mock test. If you are shopping online for a test, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure the test you buy is FDA cleared
  • Consult the FDA’s listings of approved antigen and molecular diagnostic tests to find an authorized home kit
  • Verify sellers by searching online for combinations of seller’s website, company, digital storefront or username with words such as “scam”, “complaint” or “review”
  • Compare online reviews from separate sources including experts, organizations and individuals on different websites
  • Pay by credit card to be able to dispute a fake debit
  • Report fraudulent sellers or fake tests to the FTC


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