Avoid Buying Fake COVID Tests Online

According to a recent article written by Colleen Tressler of the FTC’s Division of Consumer Business Education, the news is filled with images of long lines at in-person COVID testing sites and reports of limited supplies of at-home test kits.  It is no surprise that, according to the U.S. 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.

Tressler warns that using these fake products isn’t just a waste of money, it increases your risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 or not getting appropriate treatment.  So, if you’re shopping online for COVID test kits and related items:

  1. Make sure the test you are buying is authorized by the FDA. Check the FDA’s list of antigen diagnostic tests ( -disease-2019) before you buy to find the tests authorized for home use.
  2. Check out the seller before you buy, especially if you’re buying from a site you don’t know. Search online for the website, company, seller’s name, plus words like “Scam”, “complaint”, “review”.
  3. Compare online reviews from a wide variety of websites. You can get a good idea about the company, product, or service from reading user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites.  Think about the source of the review.  Ask yourself:  Where is this review coming from?  Is it from an expert organization or individual customers?
  4. Pay by credit card. If you’re charged for an order you never got, or for a product that is not as advertised, contact your credit card company and dispute the charge.

If you suspect a scam seller or bogus test, Tressler encourages you to report it at  Recently, a Florida man reported to police that he was offered a fake COVID test by someone posing as staff at a legitimate testing site.  Police are warning people about potential scammers providing online links asking for personal information.

If you need help with this topic or any other concern, phone numbers and days of operation for Seniors vs. Crime offices in The Villages can be found on our website at  You can also check out our Facebook page by searching for Seniors vs. Crime Region 4.