(CNN) Not all test centers are created equal. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about fake COVID-19 testing sites that have appeared across the country.
“We have seen a slight rise in complaints and reviews at various different testing sites across the United States,” said Sandra Gill, director of communications at the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB says the high demand for auditions and the scarcity of the show opened the door for bad actors.
Health officials say this puts consumers at risk of identity theft, inaccurate or lost test results and financial losses.
“That’s the real danger now, that people are going to get your personal information and then take it and try to get more money from you,” said Gigi Gronval, chief researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “This is really something the government needs to step in to deal with because it’s really hard for a consumer to assess whether a test site is legitimate or not.”
With some countries having a hard time maintaining their oversight, the BBB has three recommendations for avoiding being scammed.
The first is to do your research. Check the Department of Health’s state and local website to find approved no-cost testing sites in your area.
Second, they say read the fine print on any documents they ask you to sign.
“If they seem to be asking for things like your Social Security number or your driver’s license or your insurance card, you might want to start asking questions,” Guile said.
Finally, the BBB says watch out for similar websites. Fake utilities often impersonate websites to make them look like well-known and reliable companies.
Remember, you can order free COVID tests from the government at COVIDtests.gov.
If you suspect that you gave your Social Security number to a fraudulent test site, the BBB recommends that you report it to IdentityTheft.gov to protect yourself.
If you used a credit card to pay for the test, report your credit card company and object to the fee.
Finally, report this to the authorities and to your local Better Business Bureau.
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