The FBI is warning about scammers who advertise fraudulent COVID-19 antibody tests to obtain personal information that can be used for identity theft or medical insurance fraud, reports the New York Times. The warning is the latest in a series of federal alerts about fraudulent exploitation of the coronavirus pandemic. Scammers are advertising the fake or unapproved tests — which could provide false results — online, through social media or email, in person, and over the phone. Some claim that the tests were approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and others provide incentives for getting tested and offer testing for free.
The FBI recommends that those looking to take an antibody test — which is used to determine whether a person has had coronavirus — consult a list of tests and testing companies that the FDA has approved. People should consult their primary care physician before taking any COVID-19 antibody test at home, the FBI says. It also warned against sharing personal or health information with anyone who is not a “known and trusted medical professional,” as well as checking medical bills for suspicious claims and reporting those claims to health insurance providers. Among the methods fraudulent marketers use to obtain personal information is telling people they’re working with the government or that government officials are requiring them to take a COVID-19 antibody test. They sometimes offer to perform the test for cash. The Federal Trade Commission has warned of scammers pretending to be contact tracers.