By Paul Hughes, Republican-American
HARTFORD — State officials are warning consumers about scammers marketing and selling fake at-home testing kits for coronavirus.
The Office of Attorney General and the Department of Consumer Protection reported this week that both are starting to see fake test kits being marketed to the public as ways to test for COVID-19 at home.
“Scammers are always looking for new ways to target the vulnerable, and this public health emergency is no different,” Attorney General William Tong said.
State officials are reminding the public testing for COVID-19 is only conducted in licensed laboratories, hospitals and medical facilities because the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has not approved at-home test kits at this time.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull advised consumers and families to remain vigilant and follow their instincts.
“You won’t hear about a miracle cure, or an instant at-home test kit online — you’ll hear about it from the state and a reputable news source,” she said. “Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Anyone who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 should avoid purchasing at-home test kits marketed online, and should instead contact their doctor and follow their instructions.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is also alerting the public about scammers offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. These services are unapproved and illegitimate.
HHS is telling beneficiaries be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare or Medicaid numbers. Federal officials are advising the public should also be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies.
State officials are warning consumers may also see scam artists post on social media, or send emails or text messages to promote false information about cases of the coronavirus in local neighborhoods that do not exist, and bogus prevention medication to obtain consumers’ personal information and money.
They also may ask consumers to donate to victims through a sham charity or offer advice about false treatments for the disease.
Consumers who recognize these scams or feel they have fallen victim to a scam should report it to the Department of Consumer Protection or the attorney general’s office.
People can file complaints with Department of Consumer Protection online at ct.gov/dcp/complaint or by emailing email@example.com.
Complaints can be filed with the attorney general’s office online at www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tong is the biggest scam.