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Beware, Americans: Not all COVID-19 testing sites are legit

Here is how you can identify the real ones.

Written by
Anna Rahmanan

Here's a warning we never thought we'd have to share: fake COVID-19 testing sites are popping up all over the country to steal people's information in order to run up credit card bills and commit identity theft. 

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"The fake sites can look real, with legitimate-looking signs, tents, hazmat suits, and realistic-looking tests," reports the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information website. In addition to running off with innocent people's information, these destinations are causing health-related issues. "They aren't following sanitation protocols, so they can spread the virus," reads the website. "Worst of all, they're not giving people the help they need to stay healthy."

The agency goes a step further and actually gives us some tips that will help identify a real site. First off, not everyone afflicted by the virus necessarily needs to get tested. Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) self-checker and do reach out to your doctor before setting out for a site. If you do opt to get tested, get a referral from your doctor or read through your state or local health department's website for specific locations instead of finding a site while simply driving around town. Finally, if you're really unsure about the legitimacy of any specific site, feel free to call the local police and ask about it. Worse comes to worst, you'll be alerting them of a scam and help them take it down.

Just in case you're doubtful about the actual existence of the scam, here are some Tweets by people who have discovered these fake sites. Needless to say, be careful!

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