The FBI has issued a warning about fraudsters who advertise fraudulent tests for antibodies to COVID-19 as a way to obtain personal information that can be used to steal personal data or fraud with health insurance.
The warning issued on Friday is the latest in a series of federal government warnings about fraudulent exploitation of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fraudsters advertise fake or unapproved tests that can give false results on the Internet, on social networks or by email, in person or by phone, the FBI said. They may claim that the tests have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as advertise free COVID-19 antibody tests or provide incentives for testing.
The FBI recommends that anyone who wants to take an antibody test — which is used to determine if a person has COVID-19 — check out a list of tests and companies that have approved the FDA. These tests were evaluated in a study conducted at the Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health or at another government agency designated by the FDA.
People should also consult their healthcare provider before doing any tests for antibodies to COVID-19 at home, says the FBI. He also cautioned against sharing personal or health information with anyone who is not a “well-known and trustworthy healthcare provider,” or checking medical bills for suspicious claims and reporting such claims to health insurance providers.
Among the methods that fraudulent marketers use to get sensitive personal information are to call people and let them know that they work with the government or that government officials require them to take the test for antibodies to COVID-19. Sometimes they also offer a cash test.
The goal is to obtain personal information such as a person’s name, date of birth, social security number, information about Medicare and health insurance. This can later be used for identity theft or medical insurance fraud.
Fraud tests, authorities say, are another way for fraudsters to capitalize on people’s fear and insecurity over the coronavirus pandemic.
Last Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission warned scammers pretending to be contact investigators. In early June, the Internal Revenue Service warned people about fraud associated with government payments of coronavirus.
Back in April, the FBI issued a similar warning regarding testing of COVID-19 and scammers wishing to sell false medicine for coronavirus, treatment, and vaccines. Federal officials also warned last week of fake cards that were being sold that claimed to free people from wearing face masks.
This article originally appeared in New York Times,
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