With COVID-19 cases surging, there has been high demand for tests, leaving shortages across the US. Scammers use topical themes like COVID-19 to adjust their tactics. This has opened a door for scammers looking to take advantage of those desperate for a test that would allow them to travel or visit loved ones.

At-home test kits allow you to collect your own sample and test it for COVID-19 within minutes. TNS data scientists have identified numerous calls claiming to be selling at-home test kits. The scam is simple: the fraudster will ask for your credit card information in exchange for an at-home kit. Now, you may receive a kit – but it will most likely be fake, or you will never receive the kit at all. The fake COVID-19 test kits are dangerous because you may unknowingly be spreading the virus with a false negative result or prevent a positive patient from receiving the appropriate healthcare.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a list of antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests that have been authorized and are safe to use. Check out these lists before you buy an at-home kit. Also, only buy the test from trusted sellers online or in person. In addition to calls, there are websites being created that are selling the fake kits as well. Make sure the website is reliable and legitimate. You can search for a company through the Better Business Bureau to see if they have good reviews or complaints. If you do find fraudulent test kits, you can report them to the FDA by contacting this email address.

As with all phone scams, stay alert for red flags and never give personal information over the phone. Call-blocking apps, including those powered by TNS Call Guardian®, are also a great resource for reporting and blocking unwanted robocalls. Stay vigilant and share information about scams with others.

Jim Tyrrell is Senior Director of Product Marketing at TNS with specific responsibility for TNS’ Communications Market solutions.

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