Officials warn the public about fake Covid-19 test kits. How to discover them

Now an additional problem has emerged: the Federal Trade Commission warns of fake test kits being sold online to desperate customers.

“It’s not surprising that, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, fake and unauthorized test kits appear online at home as opportunistic scammers take advantage of the increase in demand,” the FTC said in a news release this week.
Coronavirus self-testing – also known as home testing or over-the-counter testing – is one of several risk-reducing measures that can protect humans by reducing the chances of coronavirus spread, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These tests can be taken at home or anywhere, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms, and are easy to use for fast results, says the CDC.
However, test kits are in short supply and becoming more expensive, forcing someone to search online or anywhere to find them.

But buyers should be wary of scammers selling fake sets.

How to detect a fake test set

The FTC suggests that you follow these four steps before purchasing and using a test kit:

Only purchase tests approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s website has a list of more than 40 authorized home tests, some of which have age restrictions. You can buy these tests online, at pharmacies and some stores.
2. Check the FDA’s list of counterfeit Covid-19 products to make sure the test kit you are buying, or the company you are buying it from, is not there.

Look at a number of sellers and compare credible reviews from expert sources such as medical professionals or healthcare organizations before making a purchase decision.

The FTC also advised to search the Internet for the seller of the test kits at home along with words like “scam”, “complaint” or “review” to catch the scammers.
“Using these counterfeit products is not just a waste of money, it increases the risk of unknowingly spreading Covid-19 or not getting the right treatment,” the FTC said.
4. If you choose to buy a test kit online, use your credit card so that you can contest the charge if you discover that it is a scam.

“Using these counterfeit products is not just a waste of money, it increases the risk of unknowingly spreading Covid-19 or not getting the right treatment,” the FTC said.

In addition, you should check if the set you are buying has not expired.

The importance of being tested

While the highly transmissible Omicron variant continues to increase Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in the United States, health experts say it is crucial that Americans continue safe practices to prevent infections.

One of these methods is to test regularly, even when you are not feeling sick or showing symptoms.

Unfortunately, supply can not keep up with demand, but with Omicron being so much more contagious, testing will be more important than ever, according to Mara Aspinall, professor of practice at the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University.

“We are in a very, very precarious moment,” Aspinall told CNN last month. “Testing is our only exit strategy of all this.”
To date, Covid-19 has killed at least 833,987 people and infected around 58.5 million in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

CNN’s Travis Caldwell, Jen Christensen and Tara Subramaniam contributed to this report.

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