Scammers are selling fake COVID tests

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Hours-long lines for a rapid COVID test are not exclusive to the Milwaukee area, they are happening all over the country. There is a national shortage of at-home COVID tests as well

Jim Temmer, president of the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin (BBB), says scammers are trying to take advantage of these shortages.

"This is something we haven’t seen in Wisconsin yet, but it is definitely happening around the country,” he said. 

Temmer says it is only a matter of time before Wisconsin sees testing scams, which often start with a robocall or a text, or an email. The scam will promise a free or fast COVID test, but there’s a catch.

“They’re going to say ‘we need a credit card for shipping or we need your Social Security number and your birth date so we can bill the government your Medicare, your health insurance, whatever it is,” Temmer said.

In this version of the scam, the victim has given up their personal information like a credit card number or Social Security number.

In a different version of the scam, victims give up their money for a fake test. Both the FDA and FBI have issued warnings about fraudulent tests. Temmer says these scams are working because they play into people’s fears. 

“Scammers succeed when people are emotional, they’re anxious, they’re upset," Temmer said. 

Kirsten Johnson, commissioner of health for the Milwaukee Health Department, says the city is addressing the need for more testing.

"We have transitioned staff to support the testing, and in addition, we are working with a private lab. Hopefully they can come on board by the end of this week to open a handful of other sites in the city,” Johnson said. 

Wisconsin residents are eligible for a free at-home COVID test. For more information, CLICK HERE.

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