‘Bad actors’ taking advantage of demand for COVID tests, says Oregon attorney general

COVID-19 Testing

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum released a warning Wednesday, alerting of “suspicious testing sites” and COVID-19 at-home tests selling for “sky-high prices.”

“The huge demand for Covid-19 testing of all kinds— at-home tests, rapid antigen tests, PCR tests–brings bad actors and some businesses trying to make a quick buck out from the shadows,” said Rosenblum. “We see it all the time in moments of desperation like this testing urgency.” 

In a statement released by Rosenblum’s office, the average price for two at-home tests is about $20. While tests being sold on websites such as eBay, Craigslist and NextDoor are allegedly selling for far more.

Officials say to be wary of pop-up testing sites that require out-of-pocket fees, don’t display logos and are not affiliated with a known organization.

The announcement by Rosenblum’s department came a day after Nexstar’s KOIN heard from Portland residents who questioned the results they received from a COVID testing site.

Some said they’ve tested negative at a Center for COVID Control site, while testing positive elsewhere, or just never received PCR test results at all. The other Center for COVID Control site was locked up on Wednesday with a simple hand-written sign saying they were out of supplies.

Meanwhile, people kept showing up, telling KOIN they haven’t gotten their test results back or they’re desperate for a COVID test. A KOIN crew drove to one of the locations to find a messy hut, with more hand-written signs saying they’re closed and out of supplies.

The Department of Justice spokesperson says they’re now looking into the Center for COVID Control.

Meanwhile, Rosenblum’s office advises those buying at-home tests online to make sure the test is authorized by the FDA and pay by credit card. Additionally, the FDA recommends reviewing the seller’s website or company’s name along with the words “scam” or “complaint” before purchasing a COVID test.

The Better Business Bureau recommends contacting any of the following for information on tests, test kits, and registered testing locations before going:

Amid the many challenges people have had when getting tested for coronavirus, President Joe Biden recently announced that the federal government will buy half a billion COVID-19 rapid test kits to distribute to people to use at home for free later this month. Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to pay for eight at-home COVID-19 tests. Americans will be able to either purchase these for free under their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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