With the increased demand for in-home COVID-19 tests, there is also a growing possibility that the tests you just purchased are in fact fake, the Federal Trade Commission warned in a new alert this week.
In addition, the Food and drug administration reported in November that fake COVID-19 tests and “cures” are circulating online. “You risk unknowingly spreading COVID-19 or not being treated appropriately if you use an unauthorized test,” the FDA said in a recent statement.
To make sure you don’t end up with fraudulent COVID-19 tests, the FTC has also shared some proven tips for your online shopping. Here’s what you need to know before you buy home test kits.
Only purchase tests authorized by the FDA.
When selecting a COVID-19 test kit to buy at home, the first thing to do is to make sure that it is an FDA-cleared test, the FTC explained.
Before you buy, check these listings to make sure the test you selected has received FDA emergency use clearance – and is not on the FDA’s list of fraudulent products.
You should only buy from trusted sellers.
You can find FDA-cleared tests at generally trusted sites, like those of large pharmacies and stores. But, in the search for rapid home tests, you might find yourself browsing sites that you are not as familiar with. If you use a site like Amazon, be careful who sells the items.
This is why the FTC recommends that you “consult a seller before you buy, especially if you are buying from a site that you are unfamiliar with.”
To do this, you must perform an online search for the seller’s name as well as words such as “scam” or “complaint,” the FTC says. This could generate red flags for a particular seller.
Look for seller and product reviews online.
As you do your research, you should also look online for customer reviews of a particular product or seller. It’s best to compare responses from multiple sites, as it’s not always easy to know where an online review is coming from.
“You can get a good idea of ââa business, product or service by reading user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites,” says the FTC. âThink about the source of the notice. Ask yourself: where does this advice come from? Does it come from an expert organization or from individual clients? “
Use a credit card to purchase your tests.
Finally, when you’re ready to buy, use a credit card to purchase your COVID-19 tests at home. That way, if all else fails and you end up with a scam test or simply never receive a product you paid for, you can dispute the debit with your credit card company.