Tens of millions of Americans have ordered free COVID-19 tests through a new federal program that allows each household to receive four free kits.
Unfortunately, not all COVID-19 test offers are legitimate.
Scammers are using the news of this real program as a way to entice unsuspecting Americans to fake sites designed to steal your personal information.
Here are some ways to ensure you are responding to the legitimate government offer:
1. Order your kits from the government-approved site.
The government site to obtain the tests is through a page on the U.S. Postal Service's site at https://special.usps.com/testkits. This special page only requests your name and address. You will not be asked for any payment or shipping costs. You will not be asked for insurance details, your Social Security number, or any other sensitive material.
Any site that requests payment or personal information beyond your name and address is a scam and should be avoided.
2. Study the site closely.
Fraudulent sites can resemble the real thing and might even include the USPS logo or other graphics that resemble the legit site. Scammers are known to create domain names that are extremely close to the real organization's name, with perhaps just a letter or two off. But they are phony and should be avoided. If you have any doubts, trust them and leave the site.
3. Use caution around physical testing sites.
Mail-in offers are not the only methods that scammers are using to defraud people seeking COVID-19 tests. Some physical testing sites are fraudulent as well.
These sites might look like the real thing, with tents protecting visitors’ privacy and “workers’’ wearing hazmat suits. But consumers may be charged for a “free test" with results that never arrive or have their information used in identity theft.
Perhaps worst of all, they won't be getting the support they need to stay healthy.
How can you tell if a test site is a legitimate one?
Call your local health department or your doctor’s office. You can also check in with the local police department. They will know when a site is legitimate and will definitely want to know if it’s not.
Stay well by staying safe. Remember: A healthy dose of skepticism can help ensure your physical and financial health.
Others are reading:
- Online Dating Scams: Breaking the Heart and the Bank
- How to Make Your Car Last Longer
- How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft
- 3 Tips to Boost Your Credit Score Quickly
- Do I Need a Trust?