March 28, 2024

By Alaa Elassar, CNN

Covid-19 cases continue to rise dramatically, leading to brutally long lines at testing sites and empty shelves at stores where at-home rapid test kits were once in stock.

Now an additional problem has emerged: The Federal Trade Commission is warning about fraudulent testing kits being sold online to desperate customers.

“It’s not a surprise that, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, fake and unauthorized at-home testing kits are popping up online as opportunistic scammers take advantage of the spike in demand,” the FTC said in a press release this week.

Coronavirus self-tests — also known as home tests or over-the-counter tests — are one of several risk-reduction measures that can protect people by reducing the chances of spreading coronavirus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These tests can be taken at home or anywhere, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms, and are easy to use for quick results, the CDC says.

However, testing kits are in short supply and getting more expensive, forcing some people to search online or anywhere to find them.

But buyers should be wary of scammers selling fake kits.

How to spot a fake test kit

The FTC suggests following these four steps before buying and using a testing kit:

1. Only buy tests authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s website has a list of more than 40 authorized home tests, some of…

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