How to avoid buying fake COVID tests online
by Colleen Tressler, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
The news is filled with images of long lines at in-person COVID testing sites and reports of limited supplies of at-home test kits. It’s not a surprise that, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, fake and unauthorized at-home testing kits are popping up online as opportunistic scammers take advantage of the spike in demand.
Using these fake products isn’t just a waste of money, it increases your risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 or not getting the appropriate treatment. So, if you’re shopping online for COVID test kits and related items:
- Make sure the test you’re buying is authorized by the FDA. Check the FDA’s lists of antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests before you buy to find the tests authorized for home use. (EUA is “emergency use authorization.”)
- Check out a seller before you buy, especially if you’re buying from a site you don’t know. Search online for the website, company, or seller’s name plus words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review.”
- Compare online reviews from a wide variety of websites. You can get a good idea about a company, product, or service from reading user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites. Think about the source of the review. Ask yourself: Where is this review coming from? Is it from an expert organization or individual customers?
- Pay by credit card. If you’re charged for an order you never got, or for a product that's not as advertised, contact your credit card company and dispute the charge.
Suspect a scam seller or bogus test? We want to hear about it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Learn more about COVID-related frauds at ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams.