Minnesota Opinion: Don't fall victim to fake antibody tests scams
Summary: The BBB is quick to point out: “While antibody tests are available through healthcare providers, the ones being marketed by scammers are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will not provide accurate results.”
Wondering if you should get an antibody test to see if your body has already fought off COVID-19?
Proceed with the utmost caution. It could very well be a scam.
The Better Business Bureau serving Minnesota and North Dakota is warning consumers of fake COVID-19 antibody tests being marketed by scammers.
With studies showing that up to 50% of people with COVID-19 don't show any symptoms, many people are seeking antibody tests to determine if they’ve had the virus, according to the bureau.
The BBB is quick to point out: “While antibody tests are available through healthcare providers, the ones being marketed by scammers are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and will not provide accurate results.”
Here’s how the scam works, the BBB says:
You receive a robocall or are directed to a website that looks like a clinic or medical supply company offering COVID-19 antibody tests. Some even promise results in 10 minutes.
To get a test, you’re told you need to complete a form with personal information or enter your credit card details.
In some cases, the test involves an at-home testing kit that consumers never receive. Other times, the tests are allegedly offered through a clinic. But in all cases, 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 — all of which are major red flags,” the BBB explained in a warning issued last week.
So how can you avoid becoming a victim to these fake coronavirus tests? Follow these three tips:
Reach out to your healthcare provider. They can help you figure out if the test will be covered by insurance and where to find a legitimate clinic. If you don't have a primary care physician, check out the official website of your local health department for more information on testing availability.
Do research before buying. Scammers put pressure on people to buy or commit without giving them time to do further research. Before you agree to anything, search on BBB.org and Google to see they are BBB Accredited, have good reviews, and if there are complaints or scam reports associated with their business name.
Understand your options. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a detailed guide to testing for COVID-19. Understand the different tests available and what you need.
To learn more about scams related to the coronavirus and how to protect yourself, see BBB.org/Coronavirus. To read up on some general tips for avoiding scams, visit BBB.org/AvoidScams.
If you have been a victim of this scam, or any other type of scam for that matter, don’t be too embarrassed to admit it. Report it on the BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others to stay alert. In short, like the coronavirus, don’t let scams spread.
This editorial is the opinion of the editorial board of the Alexandria Echo Press.