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Oregon AG warns of fake COVID testing sites and overpriced testing kits

Brian Bull
A pop-up testing site in Eugene. Is it the real deal? The Oregon AG has some things to look for if you visit one.

Amid rocketing COVID-19 cases brought on by the Omicron variant, Oregon authorities are warning people to beware of sketchy COVID testing sites.

The Oregon Attorney General’s Office issued the warning, saying bad actors and businesses will try to score a quick buck during desperate times.

Kristina Edmundson of the Oregon Department of Justice told KLCC that there are red flags to look for with pop-up testing sites that may not be the real deal.

“Be aware of any testing site asking for sensitive information that’s not your health insurance information,” said Edmundson. “So that would be a social security (or) a passport number, something really kind of ‘off’ in terms of asking for information like that.”

Edmundson says to look for testing sites that display logos of established organizations, or are listed in the Oregon Health Authority’s testing locator. She encourages anyone suspicious of a potentially fake COVID testing site to report them via the Oregon Department of Justice’s website or the Attorney General’s Consumer hotline.

Additionally, COVID-conscious consumers are being warned about inflated prices for at-home testing kits.

Edmundson says with cases surging from the Omicron variant, some people are selling kits at excessive mark-ups.

”I just did a quick search and I found tests in my local community here in Oregon that were going for $50 for one test that you might buy in a pharmacy,” she said. “And of course, on average, those tests are usually about $10.”

Individuals are selling testing kits online on Craig’s List, NextDoor, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace.

Edmundson says if you’re seeing overpriced testing kits online or at convenience stores, to contact the Oregon Attorney General’s Office.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says this "unapproved product is sold with fraudulent claims to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. FDA warns consumers to avoid unproven and potentially unsafe products."

Oregon officials add starting January 15th, private insurers are required to cover the cost of eight at-home tests a month for members.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also found fraudulent COVID-19 testing kits being sold on the internet, which claim to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose, and even cure COVID-19.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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