Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On June 26, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned the public about potential fraud schemes related to antibody tests for COVID-19 since scammers “are marketing fraudulent and/or unapproved COVID-19 antibody tests, potentially providing false results,” according to a press release from the FBI.
“In addition, fraudsters are seeking to obtain individuals’ personal information (names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, etc.) and personal health information, including Medicare and/or private health insurance information, which can be used in future medical insurance or identity theft schemes,” the press release stated.
In response to the vast number of COVID-19 cases, researchers are devising methods to quickly and easily test large numbers of individuals for COVID-19 antibodies. However, not all COVID-19 antibody tests have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their efficacy have not been determined.
The FBI warned the public to be aware of the following potential indicators of fraudulent activity:
- Claims of FDA approval for antibody testing that cannot be verified.
- Advertisements for antibody testing through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources.
- Marketers offering “free” COVID-19 antibody tests or providing incentives for undergoing testing.
- Individuals contacting you in person, phone, or email to tell you the government or government officials require you to take a COVID-19 antibody test.
- Practitioners offering to perform antibody tests for cash.
The FBI recommended:
- Checking the FDA’s website (fda.gov) for an updated list of approved antibody tests and testing companies.
- Consulting your primary care physician before undergoing any at-home antibody tests.
- Using a known laboratory approved by your health insurance company to provide the antibody testing.
- Not sharing your personal or health information to anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.
- Checking your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly reporting any errors to your health insurance provider.
- Following guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted medical professionals.
Consumers who believe they have been the victim of a COVID-19 fraud should report it to National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form. For accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19 from the FBI, visit www.fbi.gov/coronavirus.
COVID-19 is a deadly respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of June 30, 2020, there are approximately 10.4 million global cases and 509,000 global deaths, while the United States leads the world with approximately 2.6 million cases and 129,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.
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