BBB warns of potential scams, fake COVID-19 tests

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Pop-up testing sites have become a necessary part of the battle to control COVID-19, so it probably comes as no surprise that scammers are taking advantage.

The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South is warning people about fake COVID-19 testing sites.

RELATED: COVID-19 tests are free starting Saturday; how to get one; how to get it delivered

Shelby County Health Director Dr. Michelle Taylor said police are investigating a few reports of fake testing sites in the county.

“I got this new grandbaby. I love her to death. I don’t want to be around her and not know that we’re carrying the virus or not,” Memphian Arthur Woody said.

Peace of mind before he visits his new granddaughter is why Woody said he got tested for COVID-19 this week.

But with fake testing sites popping up across the country, and possibly in Shelby County, he made sure the place he got his test was reputable.

“If they get your information, they could steal your identity, or they could get money from you at the same time. So it’s a two-criminal offense,” Woody said.

Daniel Irwin with the BBB of the Mid-South said they’re keeping an eye out for these rogue testing sites.

He said scammers are taking advantage of the need for testing, taking everything from social security numbers to personal medical records.

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“Those are all things you don’t necessarily have to give. Legitimate testing sites don’t ask for all that information,” Irwin said.

Irwin also said his office has gotten several reports of people buying at-home COVID-19 tests on fraudulent websites.

In those cases, people either didn’t receive the test or got one that was not FDA approved.

“We urge people to stick with reputable retailers that you know when you’re trying to buy an at-home COVID test,” he said.

Irwin said you can find out if a testing site is registered by checking the Shelby County Department of Health’s webpage.

As for Woody, he said the more questions you ask, the better.

“My advice would be to ask questions. How long have you been here, who are you with, is there a way I could check to make sure you are legitimate?”

You can find a list of testing sites in Shelby County here.