Better Business Bureau warns against fake COVID-19 testing sites

(CNN) – Not all testing centers are created equal. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about the appearance of bogus COVID-19 testing sites across the country.

“We’ve noticed an increase in complaints and reviews across various testing sites in the United States,” said Sandra Guile, director of communications for the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB says the high demand for testing and the scarcity of supply have opened the door to bad actors.

And health officials say it puts consumers at risk of identity theft, inaccurate or missing test results and financial loss.

“That’s the real risk right now, that people get your personal information and then take it and try to squeeze more money out of you,” said Gigi Gronvall, senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It’s really something the government needs to intervene because it’s really hard for the consumer to assess whether it’s a legit test site or not.”

With some states struggling to maintain surveillance, the BBB has three recommendations to avoid getting ripped off.

The first is to do your research. Check your state and local health department website to find authorized and free testing sites in your area.

Second, they say to read the fine print on any document you are asked to sign.

“If it looks like they’re asking for things like your social security number, driver’s license, or insurance card, you might want to start asking questions,” Guile said.

Finally, the BBB says to be careful of similar websites. Fake installers often spoof sites to make them look like well-known and trusted companies.

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2022 CNN New Source. All rights reserved.

About Geraldine Higgins

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