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AG’s office warns against rise of COVID test skit scams

A coronavirus test swab.
Mufid Majnun
A coronavirus test swab.

Updated on Jan. 11 at 6:31 p.m. ET

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning consumers to watch out for scammers selling fake home COVID-19 tests.

Nessel says during the pandemic, reports of fraudulent products have ebbed and flowed with waves of COVID cases.

Currently, the AG’s office is seeing an increased number of calls about at-home test kits following the recent omicron surge.

The state is echoing warnings that are also coming from the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau about the bogus tests.

Nessel says consumers should guard against websites that ask for information like your Social Security number.

“If somebody was requiring that kind of personal information from you, then you should absolutely not be taking that test,” Nessel said. “Also, it indicates to me that that’s probably not an accurate test. It’s not just that they’re trying to get your personal information, it’s that these tests are not real tests.”

Chad Canfield is with the AG’s Consumer Protection Division.

“We’ll see the complaints when somebody who’s been scammed by a fake tester is sort of strung along for a week or two, and then they realize, 'Hey wait a second, I’m not getting my results, I need to report that,'” Canfield said. “So, one of the reasons why we’re trying to get the word out now is so that they don’t fall victim to something like this.”

The Michigan Attorney General’s website includes a link listing tips to identify fake COVID related products and a way to file a complaint.

Michigan residents should contact the office if they suspect fraud.

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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