Attorney General Tong, DCP Commissioner Seagull Warn Consumers, Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries of Fraudulent Covid-19 At-home Testing Kits
Attorney General William Tong and Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull are warning consumers about scammers who may try to capitalize on fears of the COVID-19 pandemic by marketing and selling fake at-home testing kits for coronavirus.
The Office of the Attorney General and the DCP have both started to see fake test kits being marketed to the public as ways to test for the coronavirus at home.
Testing for COVID-19 is only conducted in licensed laboratories, hospitals, and medical facilities across the country. No FDA-approved at-home COVID-19 tests are available in the U.S.
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 Office of Inspector General 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.
Beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare or Medicaid numbers. The public should also be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies.
“Scammers are always looking for new ways to target the vulnerable, and this public health emergency is no different. Fraudulent medical tests and products can pose serious health risks by preventing some patients from seeking care or delaying proper medical treatment. Those who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 or are developing symptoms, should consult with their doctor immediately and follow their medical advice, not defer to the claims of a fake at-home test,” said Attorney General Tong.
“Now more than ever, we want consumers and families to remain vigilant, and follow their instincts,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Seagull. “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. Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
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 in order 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 Office of the Attorney General.
- Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection:
Complaint webpage: https://ct.gov/dcp/complaint
- Office of the Attorney General:
Complaint webpage: https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint
Anyone with knowledge of suspected fraud or abuse in the public healthcare system is asked to contact the Attorney General’s Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.