FBI warns of fraudulent COVID-19 antibody tests

Kameleon007/iStockBy LUKE BARR, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning of fraudulent COVID-19 antibody tests.

While real tests indicate whether or not an individual was previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, the FBI warns the false tests are not only a method for scammers to give out fraudulent results but also to steal personal information from people who take the fake tests.

Scammers, according to the FBI, are also looking for insurance and Medicare information, “which can be used in future medical insurance or identity theft schemes.”

The FBI urges the public to be aware of “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, and marketers offering ‘free’ COVID-19 antibody tests or providing incentives for undergoing testing.”

Officials urge checking the Food and Drug Administration website, consulting with a primary care physician, using a known laboratory or health care provider, among other recommendations.

This is not the first coronavirus scam officials have sounded the alarm on.

Last week, the Department of Justice warned of fake COVID-19 mask exemption cards.

The cards say in part “I am exempt from any ordinance requiring face mask usage in public. Wearing a face mask posses [sp] a mental and or physical risk to me. Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) I’m not required to disclose my condition to you.”

The warning, which first came from the United States Attorney’s office in the Middle District of North Carolina, pointed to spelling and other errors. The U.S. Attorney’s Office suggested the message could come in the form of cards, flyers or postings.

“Do not be fooled by the chicanery and misappropriation of the DOJ eagle,” said U.S. Attorney G.T. Martin in a release. “These cards do not carry the force of law. The ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency,’ or ‘FTBA,’ is not a government agency.”

Homeland Security Investigations, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, is also cracking down on COVID-19 scams.

It says has seized over 885 fraudulent COVID-19 tests, prohibited drugs and counterfeit masks. In May, it partnered with private businesses to protect the American public from COVID-19 fraud.

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