BBB: Simple steps to spot fraudulent COVID-19 testing sites

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 4:44 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is sounding the alarm on the possibility of pop-up fraudulent COVID-19 testing sites.

The organization said a little bit of work before getting your test can help with any major headaches brought about by scammers.

The Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) said there have been some reports of fake COVID-19 testing sites in the county. Thursday, SCHD Director Dr. Michelle Taylor said police are investigating.

However, these reports shouldn’t deter you from getting tested, which is a necessary step in cutting COVID-19 transmission.

“With a record-setting rise in COVID-19 cases affecting the Mid-South, we are warning people to be on the lookout for fraudulent COVID testing sites,” said Daniel Irwin BBB of the Mid-South director of outreach and PR.

The BBB has been warning of different scams popping up through the pandemic.

“Earlier on in the pandemic, it was fake websites selling PPE, and Lysol, and cleaning products,” Irwin said.

The BBB said there have been reports of fake mobile COVID-19 testing sites across the country, aiming to get people’s personal information. Irwin said some simple steps can help you spot them.

If you’re worried about the legitimacy of your testing location, talk to your doctor about where to get tested or simply check your state and local health department websites to crosscheck if it’s a legitimate mobile testing site.

If you get a suspicious feeling once you’re there, ask questions.

“Ask questions like how long have you been here, I haven’t heard of this site before,” Irwin said. “Ask questions if things look suspicious and ask why they need the information they need.”

Irwin said the Mid-South office has been getting reports of people buying at-home COVID-19 tests from fraudulent websites. He recommends always sticking with reputable retailers or retailers you trust, and use a credit card when buying online. A credit card gives you more protection to dispute a charge.

Irwin said don’t avoid getting tested, just do your due diligence.

“There are more and more valid locations that are popping up because the need is arising,” Irwin said. “Just because you haven’t heard of a testing location doesn’t mean it’s not a real location. It does mean you need to take a few more minutes of preparation to make sure it is valid.”

SCHD said you can also call its 222-MASK number to ask about local testing sites.

For Shelby County testing locations, click here. The state health departments’ websites for Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi also have a list of testing locations.

You can also visit the Department of Health and Human Services for a list.

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