MADISON, Ala. — The FBI and local law enforcement have put out an alert about the latest COVID-19 scam to hit the streets.
In a social media post retweeted by the Madison City Police department, the FBI warned about fraudsters selling fake COVID-19 tests door-to-door. The tests could potentially both bilk people out of their hard-earned money and put their health in jeopardy too.
“The Coronavirus pandemic is a time for Americans to pull together, but it is not a time for us to let our guard down,” said Chris Schrank, Assistant Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS), speaking in a recent video posted online. The HHS is coordinating with the FBI on the effort to warn people about the scam.
“Scammers are out active right now. They are preying on the public’s fears by offering COVID-19 tests or cures in exchange for personal details,” Schrank said.
The FBI said many of the scammers are also hawking fake testing kits through telemarketing calls and social media platforms. Those who use them could be at risk of receiving a potentially life-threatening false-negative test for COVID-19 and going untreated for the virus.
“That’s sad. What I hear is somebody is going to get real sick and when they get real sick, since I do work in the medical field, we’re going to have to take care of more people,” said Matthew Darnell, a healthcare worker in Huntsville. “What if somebody is selling something fake to someone you love and you’re selling something fake too. Why would you do that?”
Many of the scammers are promising free tests or treatment in order to gain access people’s personal identity. The scammers often ask personal and health insurance information, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and financial data.
“I would just think anybody should be leery of someone selling door to door anything that has to do with medical,” said Hope Sealy of Huntsville.
The FBI said seeking people medical advice should only trust healthcare professions when it comes to anything to do with the Coronavirus and your health in general. Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of COVID-19 fraud should reach out to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or visit the FBI website.
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