How to avoid buying fake COVID-19 tests online

Coronavirus

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The free at-home COVID-19 tests President Joe Biden promised to deliver to the doors of millions of Americans are now on the way to households across the country. But some people who ordered their tests as soon as they could are still waiting for them to arrive.

Free testing kits can be ordered at covidtests.gov or at usps.com/covidtest. The White House promised every American household at least four free at-home tests, in an effort to combat the surge in omicron cases and testing kits shortage. The delivery is expected to be seven-12 days, according to a White House statement.

NewsNation’s Evan Lambert asked on Twitter who received their testing kits, and about half of the respondents said they got their tests without any issues. Others, however, complained they didn’t get their tests, or even any confirmation from the postal service that they’re on the way.

For those who are still seeking tests, a new potential pitfall is popping up: fake COVID-19 testing kits sites.

At least a dozen domain names that are similar to the official government website are being reported to the Federal Trade Commission. The scams are coming in different forms. Some scammers are using phishing attempts to gather consumers’ information. Some are asking people to pay for tests that should be free. 

“If you’re going to be putting your personal information in any website, you’re definitely going to want to look at the URL,” said Lou Rabon from the Cyber Defense Group. Rabon also suggested avoiding “look-like” websites.

“Look at where you’re going and maybe click around a bit to see if it’s a legitimate site.”

The Consumer of Financial Protection Bureau also warns consumers to never give out Social Security numbers or a passport number to get a COVID-19 test.

The White House says more than 60 million American households have ordered tests and the effort is paying off. 

“Tens of millions of tests have gone out the door and reached the right door,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing. “I think that’s the vast majority.”

The White House is encouraging those having issues with their online order to contact the White House hotline number at 800-232-0233. 

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