What to know about ‘fake’ COVID-19 testing sites in San Antonio

As COVID-19 cases surge again in Bexar County, so has the need for testing.

But as residents rush to their nearest testing sites, health officials are urging them to ensure the sites are legitimate, warning of “fake” testing sites. However, it’s unclear how big of a problem those are at the moment.

San Antonio Metropolitan Health District Medical Director Dr. Junda Woo told reporters at a news conference Thursday morning “MetroHealth has been made aware this week about fake testing sites popping up around San Antonio and around Texas.”

The “scammers,” she said, aren’t running the tests correctly, and “in some cases, their main interest is in your personal information, your date of birth, your medical insurance.”

“In some cases, what we’ve heard is that they’re running these 20 minute tests in about five minutes,” Woo told KSAT. “So that would mean that you could be….your test will probably be negative, even if you’re positive, right? And that means you could still be transmitting the virus. In other cases, I’m worried that maybe they’re going to be trying to commit Medicaid or Medicare fraud with your information.”

When asked for details on what sites had been identified as “fake,” a Metro Health spokesman told KSAT in an emailed statement, “At this time, we have two sites that are under investigation. If the investigation finds that they are fraudulently operating, we will share the information publicly.”

Woo advised residents seeking tests to be on the lookout for warning signs of a possible “scam site:”

There are no logos on any of the organizational materialsThe testing location is in the middle of the sidewalk or another unusual locationIt’s not affiliated with the storefront or building where it’s set upIt’s not affiliated with a local medical organization or laboratoryAn upfront cost is “especially” a red flag, Woo said

If you suspect a site is a scam, Woo said to “ask more questions, check out their website, call them, get more information.”

Fraudulent sites can be reported through the Federal Trade Commission website, Woo said.

To ensure you’re at a legitimate site, you can also check the city’s list of testing locations. While the list may not contain every legitimate testing site, Woo said it does have every legitimate, free testing site.

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