How to Spot Fake COVID Tests Online

Scammers are selling fake COVID-19 tests online, but you can avoid them

(RxWiki News) Have you purchased a fake COVID-19 test online? If you haven't been paying close attention, it's possible.

That's because many fraudsters have tried to take advantage of shortages of tests during COVID surges, according to federal officials. They put fake or defective testing products up for sale online, hoping to make an illicit profit.

The problem isn't just a waste of your money. It's also about reducing the spread of COVID-19. If you buy and use a fake test that gives you a false negative result, you could unknowingly spread COVID-19.

It might also stop you from getting early, potentially more effective treatment for a COVID infection, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

But sometimes, it can be hard to tell which tests are legitimate and which ones might be fake. Here are a few tips:

  • If the test is an antigen test, check for it on the FDA's list of approved antigen tests.
  • If the test is a molecular (PCR) test, check for it on the FDA's list of approved molecular diagnostic tests.
  • If you're shopping online, Google the seller of the test. See if they have a lot of good, realistic-sounding reviews on multiple websites.
  • Pay with a credit card if you purchase a COVID-19 test online. That way, if the test never arrives, you can dispute the charge.
  • Check with your community pharmacy for COVID tests before shopping online. Your pharmacist will only sell approved COVID-19 tests.

If you believe that you have identified a fake COVID-19 test scam, consider reporting it to the Federal Trade Commission. And if you suspect that you have COVID-19, call your health care provider.

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Review Date: 
February 15, 2022
Last Updated:
February 16, 2022