Scammers are marketing fake coronavirus antibody tests in order to rip off people and get their personal information, according to the FBI.
The federal agency is warning the public about the phony tests, which, in addition to other risks, can give people false results. Fraudsters are using the tests to get personal information like names, birth dates and Social Security numbers from people, according to the FBI.
It's also a way for the scammers to get personal health information, including Medicare and health insurance information, that can be used in future scams, the FBI said.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, researchers have been encouraged to come up with testing methods to quickly and easily test people for COVID-19 antibodies, which mean the patient already has had the virus.
However, the FBI warns, not all antibody tests have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and it hasn't been determined how reliable they are.
The agency encourages people looking for an antibody test to look out for the following potential indications of a scam:
Claims of FDA approval for antibody testing that cannot be verified
Advertisements for antibody testing through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online or from unsolicited and unknown sources
Marketers offering "free" COVID-19 antibody tests or providing incentives for undergoing testing
Individuals contacting you in person, phone or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to take a COVID-19 antibody test
Practitioners offering to perform antibody tests for cash
The FBI recommends the following actions:
Check the FDA’s website for an updated list of approved antibody tests and testing companies
Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any at-home antibody tests
Use a known laboratory approved by your health insurance company to provide the antibody testing
Don't share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals
Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly report any errors to your health insurance provider
Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted medical professionals
If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 fraud, you're encouraged to immediately report it to National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline via its website or at 866-720-5721 or the FBI at its website or 1-800-CALL-FBI.