How to Avoid Buying Fake COVID Tests Online

by Colleen Tressler
Consumer and Business Education Division, FTC

The news is filled with images of long queues at in-person COVID testing sites and reports of limited stocks of home test kits. It’s no surprise that, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration, counterfeit and unauthorized home test kits are appearing online as opportunistic scammers take advantage of the surge in demand.

Using these counterfeit products is not only a waste of money, it increases the risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 or not receive the appropriate treatment. So if you buy COVID test kits and related items online:

  • Make sure the test you buy is FDA cleared. Check the FDA Antigen Diagnostic Test Lists and molecular diagnostic tests before you buy to find the tests authorized for home use. (EUA is “emergency use authorization”.)
  • Consult with a seller before you buy, especially if you are buying from a site you are unfamiliar with. Search online for the name of the website, company, or seller, and words like “scam,” “claim”, or “review.”
  • Compare online reviews from a wide variety of websites. You can get a good idea of ​​a business, product, or service by reading user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites. Think about the source of the review. Ask yourself: where did this review come from? Does it come from an expert organization or from specific clients?
  • Pay by credit card. If you are charged for an order you never received, or for a product that is not as advertised, contact your credit card company and challenge the accusation.

Do you suspect a con artist or a fake test? We want to hear about it at RapportFraud.ftc.gov.

Learn more about COVID-related fraud at ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams.


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