Wednesday, July 1, 2020

FBI Warns of Fraudulent COVID-19 Antibody Tests

 

 

 

Recently, it seems that my posts have been dealing with Covid-19 situations, but instead of science I’m seeing security issues.  I guess you can chalk it up to the fact that no matter what, crooks will be crooks.

 

It seems the idea, besides making money from the fake tests, is to also steal personal information from those who are duped into taking one of the tests.

 

Preying on the fears of others, scammers are using all kinds of different mediums to cast their nets as widely as possible.  Fake antibody tests are being marketed through social media, email, websites, telemarketing, and other sources.  The idea is to frighten individuals into thinking they need to buy the tests to either keep themselves or the ones they love, safe.  There are also some schemes that pressure the victim by telling them they are required to take the test by the federal government.

 

The victim pays for the test and provides all of their personal information, then the scammers provide either false test results (since the tests don’t actually work) or provide no results at all.

 

Here is the info from the FBI:

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning the public about potential fraud schemes related to antibody tests for COVID-19.

Scammers are marketing fraudulent and/or unapproved COVID-19 antibody tests, potentially providing false results. 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.

In response to the vast number of COVID-19 cases, and in an effort to return to a normal economy as soon as possible, researchers have been encouraged to devise testing methods that can be quickly and easily deployed to 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 has not been determined.

The FBI warns 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 recommends:

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
If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it to National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or justice.gov/disastercomplaintform, or the FBI (ic3.gov, tips.fbi.gov, or 1-800-CALL-FBI).

For accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit:

coronavirus.gov
cdc.gov/coronavirus
usa.gov/coronavirus
fbi.gov/coronavirus
justice.gov/coronavirus

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