CHICAGO (WLS) -- COVID home test kits are in high demand, but you could be putting yourself and others at risk with an inaccurate result if it's unauthorized, or you may be spending money on a COVID test that never arrives.
The Federal Trade Commission in Chicago issued an urgent alert about fraudulent COVID-19 home test kits. Many are sold online and on social media.
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"A lot of these websites are fake. They're either not going to deliver the product at all, but they're not going to deliver you a real COVID desk kit that's been authorized for emergency use by the FDA," said Todd Kossow, director of the FTC'S Midwest region.
Kossow said the omicron surge has increased the scam risk. In all of 2021, there were 5,700 complaints about at home test kits.
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"The first thing you should do is check the FDA website to make sure the test kit you're looking at and considering buying online is one that's approved by the FDA," he advised. "And you can go to their website, and there are lists of various types of add home test kits."
If the name of the test kit is not on the FDA's list, you may also cross reference with the name of the manufacturer on the test kit. You can also do the same research for tests you see in stores.
"If it's a website you're not familiar with, put the name of the website into a search engine and along with the word like scam or complaint and just see what other people's experiences were with that website," Kossow said.
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The FTC says you should also use a credit card to pay for tests online in case you need to dispute the charge.
You can also report a fake test to the agencies website.