Health leaders warn consumers of fake COVID-19 at-home tests

Health experts warn of fake COVID-19 home tests
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 8:10 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Health leaders are warning about counterfeit COVID-19 tests.

At-home kits are in short supply across the nation and many consumers are ordering tests online from independent sellers.

Leo Friedman, CEO and founder of IPromo, said scammers are trying to sell fake tests and it’s important to do your research before purchasing online.

“You go to these mom-and-pop supermarkets or small tiny pharmacies and what they’ll do is get tests from Korea or Europe that are not FDA approved,” Friedman said.

The FDA has a list of approved tests on its website. If a test is not FDA approved, Friedman said it can often become damaged in storage or shipping.

“If they are not correctly put through customs, which monitors how they were shipped in, what kind of containers and climate,” Friedman said. “A lot of these tests were shipped through cold climate which makes them less effective. Obviously, some are just fake tests. They’re flu tests and they’re saying their COVID tests.”

Before you buy a test, Friedman said to try searching the brand name along with keywords like “scam” or “review.” Many times, they’ve already been reported for selling faulty tests.

Friedman also suggests consulting a doctor. Even if they don’t have any tests on hand, they can point you in the right direction.

It’s also important to pay using a credit card. That way if you’re charged for an order you never got, or the test is faulty, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company.

Friedman said there are a lot of fake tests available now so you want to be extra careful when you order one.

“Millions and millions of tests came into the country that were not FDA approved. You don’t know how they were shipped, you don’t know when their expiration dates are, and so omicron was a big deal. It was less prevalent during delta because we had tests,” Friedman said.

Coming to authorized testing sites to get a PCR or rapid antigen test in-person is always a safe way to go, but if you test negative Friedman said it’s smart to have a home testing kit on hand. Make sure to test at home for a couple of days to ensure you’re not spreading COVID-19 without knowing it.

If the test you order turns out to be counterfeit, report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline.

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