CA Attorney General Warns Against Fake COVID Testing Sites

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Staff

With pop up COVID  testing sites springing up around the county and across the state comes a warning from officials: “Beware”.

Numerous illegal, unapproved and unsanitary sites have become to pose a problem with people reporting the collecting of personal identification that could possibly lead to identity theft and the failure to provide tests results after receiving payment. So much so that officials in a growing number of states—including California—are investigating the scam sites and introducing legislation to streamline COVID testing operations.

Most recently, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued an alert warning Californians to beware of fake COVID-19 testing locations and websites.

“Throughout California, fake testing sites are sprouting up to exploit families and individuals seeking COVID tests. It is important to recognize the signs of sham testing sites to protect both your money and personal information,” said Attorney General Bonta. “I urge Californians to do their part to avoid fake testing sites by utilizing state resources, including the California Department of Public Health’s website, to find a verified COVID-19 testing site.”

Bonta also shared tips on how to avoid testing site scams, as well as how to search and locate legitimate, verified testing sites.

First and foremost, he advised that people only get tested at verified COVID-19 testing sites or to check with local medical groups to see if they offer testing services within their facility.  To find a testing site near you that is verified to perform COVID-19 testing, you are directed to use the California Department of Public Health’s test site search tool or your county’s public health department website at COVID19.CA.GOV’s Hotlines and Local Info web page.

Keep in mind fake websites that purposely look identical to those belonging to well-known, trusted organizations and state agencies. Before entering personal information into an online form, always make sure that the website you are visiting is secure and does not display misspellings or unfamiliar names in the URL.

Among other red flags are (1) If a provider insists on documenting your nationality or immigration status; (2) If a provider does not offer a notice of privacy practices, or cannot explain how it will use and share your personal data; or (3) If a provider insists on accessing your passport or driver’s license when you have other documents that show your insurance status.

This month, the federal government announced the launch of a new federal resource where individuals can get free FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 test kits. Visit COVIDtests.gov, or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to order free COVID test kits from the federal government. When placing an order online, you will be redirected to the United States Post Office website to fill out an order form. The form only requires you to provide your first and last name, shipping address, and an optional email. 

Remember that no one from the federal government will call, text, or email you to ask for additional information to help you with your order. If someone reaches out asking for additional information such as your credit card information or Social Security number, do not respond – it is a scam.

If you believe that you have been scammed by a fake COVID-19 testing site, you are encouraged to report it to your local police or sheriff’s office and file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online at oag.ca.gov/report.


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