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Better Business Bureau warns of fake COVID-19 test kits

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As health officials have been reporting, it’s possible to have COVID-19 and not display any symptoms.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says because of that, some people end up looking for tests in the wrong places.

The BBB’s Scam Tracker shows people around New England have fallen victim to fake COVID-19 test kits.

“People are receiving robocalls, or are directed to a website that looks like a clinic or medical supply company offering COVID-19 tests,” explained Paula Fleming, the bureau’s local chief marketing and sales officer.

According to Fleming, the phony kits range in price from $50 to more than $200 and promise results within minutes.

“These tests can allegedly identify if you’ve been infected with coronavirus, even if you’ve already recovered,” Fleming added.

She said currently, there is no at-home COVID-19 testing kit approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“You have to be careful,” Fleming said. “First and foremost, if you want a test — talk to your doctor.”

The BBB offered the following tips:

  • Want a test? Talk to your doctor. If you want an antibody test, reach out to your health care 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, do some investigating. Research any claims the company makes. Start with searching BBB.org 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.
  • Never share your personal information with strangers. Only make purchases and share your personal information with people and companies you know and trust.

You can find a list of local testing sites on the R.I. Department of Health’s website.

Coronavirus: Coverage and Resources

Find a Testing Site Near You | School Updates| What’s Open in RI & Mass. | Latest Headlines | En Español: 12 Informa | COVID-19 Tracking: Maps, Charts, Interactive Data | Projection Models | CDC Resources | RI Health Department | MA Health Department

RI Coronavirus Hotline: (401) 222-8022 | Work-Related Questions: (401) 462-2020 | Mental Health Assistance: (401) 414-5465

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