By Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, June 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Fake or unapproved COVID-19 antibody tests are being sold by scammers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warns.
The FBI said fraudsters are also trying to get people’s personal information (such as names, birthdates and Social Security numbers) as well as personal health information (including Medicare and/or private health insurance info). This information can be used in insurance schemes and identity theft.
Researchers have been developing tests that can be quickly and easily used to check large numbers of people for COVID-19 antibodies. The FBI warned that not all of these tests have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and their effectiveness hasn’t been determined.
The FBI said people should be aware of potential signs of fraudulent activity.
These include: claims of FDA approval for antibody testing that can’t be verified; ads for antibody testing through social media platforms, email, phone calls, online or from unsolicited/unknown sources; offers of “free” tests or incentives for getting tested; offers to test you in exchange for cash.
Beware, too, if someone contacts you in person, by phone or by email claiming the government or public officials require you to take a COVID-19 antibody test, the FBI said.
To protect yourself, check the FDA’s website for a list of approved antibody tests and testing companies; talk with your primary care doctor before undergoing at-home antibody tests; and use a testing laboratory approved by your health insurer.
The FBI says you should share your personal or health information only with known and trusted medical professionals and check medical bills and explanations of benefits from your insurer for any suspicious claims. Promptly report any errors or concerns to your insurer, and follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted professionals.
If you suspect you are the victim of a COVID-19 fraud, report it immediately to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. You can also call the FBI, at 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit its website at fbi.gov.