The Coronavirus pandemic still is raging in many parts of the world, particularly the United States where people are lining up for hours to get a Coronavirus test. Taking advantage of public concern are scammers who are using illegal robocalls to scam people out of money under the guise of providing a free at-home Coronavirus test kit. Below is a recording of such a robocall that says, “The Coronavirus has cause the US to declare a national emergency. The Families First Coronavirus REsponse Act has made Coronavirus testing more accessible immediately. If you want to receive a free testing kit delivered overnight to your home, press one.”
If you press one, you are transferred to a call center where someone impersonating a government official asks for your credi card information in order to pay for shipping and handling of your “free” Coronavirus test kit. This is a scam. No government agency is calling you through an automated call to offer you a free Coronavirus testing kit. If you turn over your credit card information to the scammer calling you, you will soon find your credit card is used to make fraudulent purchases in your name. In November the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) approved on an emergency basis an at-home test made by Lucira. However, the test requires a prescription and is not widely available at this time. A number of other companies are developing home test kits, but none of them have FDA approval yet. While the Lucira home testing kits are available in some parts of the country including California, Minnesota and New Jersey, the state governments are not calling you through robocalls to offer free test kits. If you want to find out if home testing is available where you live, contact your state or local health department or ask your doctor.
Whenever you get a phone call, you can never be sure who is actually calling you. Scammers are able to manipulate your Caller ID through a technique called spoofing to make their calls appear to be originating from someone or some entity that you trust such as the CDC or your local health department. As for calls offering free testing kits, no one is calling offering legitimate free Coronavirus testing kits and, as I indicated earlier, the only FDA approved home testing kit requires a doctor’s prescription and has limited availability. Finally, providing your credit card information to one of these scammers only guarantees that a scammer will soon be making fraudulent purchases using your credit card. Never provide your credit card informaiton over the phone to someone who calls you unless you have absolutely confirmed that the call was legitimate .
For information you can rely on about Coronavirus testing you should go to the website of the Centers for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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