Nepal | July 11, 2020

FBI cautions against potential COVID-19 antibody test fraud

THT Online
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KATHMANDU: The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned the public about potential fraud schemes related to antibody tests for COVID-19.

A statement issued by the FBI National Press Office, Washington DC, on Friday, said scammers were marketing fraudulent or unapproved COVID-19 antibody tests, potentially providing false results.

In addition, fraudsters were seeking to obtain individuals’ personal information (name, date of birth, Social Security number, among others) and personal health information, including Medicare or private health insurance information, which could be used in future medical insurance or identity theft schemes, the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States said in the statement.

In response to the vast number of COVID-19 cases, and in an effort to return to a normal economy as soon as possible, researchers have been encouraged to devise testing methods that can be quickly and easily deployed to test large numbers of individuals for COVID-19 antibodies. However, not all COVID-19 antibody tests have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their efficacy has not been determined.

The FBI has warned the public to be aware of the following potential indicators of fraudulent activity:

  • Claims of FDA approval for antibody testing that cannot be verified
  • Advertisements for antibody testing through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources
  • Marketers offering “free” COVID-19 antibody tests or providing incentives for undergoing testing
  • Individuals contacting you in person, phone, or email to tell you the government or government officials require you to take a COVID-19 antibody test
  • Practitioners offering to perform antibody tests for cash

Meanwhile, the FBI has recommended checking the FDA’s website for an updated list of approved antibody tests and testing companies. It has urged the public to use a known laboratory approved by the service seeker’s health insurance company to provide the antibody testing.

It has further cautioned against sharing any personal or health information to anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals. The FBI has also urged to check medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly report any errors to the health insurance provider.

Those who have fallen victim to COVID-19 fraud have been appealed to immediately report it to National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or justice.gov/disastercomplaintform, or the FBI (ic3.govtips.fbi.gov, or 1-800-CALL-FBI).


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