WASHINGTON (NEWS10) — On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned consumers about buying phony COVID tests online. The agency sent out a few guidelines on avoiding the scam, preventing waste of money and potential misdiagnosis from fraudulent or fault testing kits.

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In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration alerted Americans to fake and unauthorized at-home test kits sold online as long lines formed at COVID sites ahead of a holiday spike in demand. Limited supply lead to opportunistic scammers, and the risk of spreading untreated COVID because of a bogus test. If you’re shopping online for a test, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure the test you’re buying is authorized by the FDA
  • Check the FDA’s lists of approved antigen and molecular diagnostic tests to find an authorized at-home kit
  • Vet vendors by searching online for combinations of the website, company, digital storefront, or seller’s username with words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review”
  • Compare online reviews from distinct sources–including experts, organizations, and inviduals–across different websites
  • Pay by credit card so you can dispute a bogus charge
  • Report scam sellers or fake tests to the FTC