Health officials warn of rise in COVID-19 testing scams with surge of Omicron

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) – Alex Wehrspann says his mother was tested for COVID-19 at a local clinic and got her results in two days. However, two weeks later, he received a text on his phone addressed to him, which alerted him.

“He specifically says her name, and he says, ‘Your test results are ready,’ which I thought was a little odd because she had already gotten her test results,” he recalled.

The message was from an area code in South Carolina. Wehrspann said the message contained a link to download an app, which required him to put in personal information and a photo of his driver’s license.

“There was just a bunch of stuff that just seemed a little ‘rip off,'” he said. “It just didn’t seem right.”

With the increase in COVID-19 cases also comes an increase in potential scams. Dubuque County Public Health Acting Director Samantha Kloft said Wehrspann did the right thing by not providing her information and researching the app. She also asked people to go to the lab where they plan to get tested.

“If the test center you go to doesn’t give you a phone number, tells you they don’t take insurance, or asks you to pay out of pocket for your test, these are all signs alarm to avoid and maybe go to another test site,” she pointed out.

Kloft said people should go through a federal or state-sponsored site to receive their test.

“We know Test Iowa is the statewide program here that offers free PCR tests you can take home,” she added.

And she warned against pop-up test sites.

“Those in the Dubuque County area were not coordinated by the Dubuque County Incident Management Team and local public health does not necessarily have any regulations or authority over these sites,” Kloft explained. .

For a list of authorized COVID-19 testing options in Dubuque County, click here.

Copyright 2022 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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