Scammers Using Pop-up COVID-19 Testing Sites for Identity Theft
As the pandemic continues to rage on, identity thieves have continued to find new and innovative ways to steal our personal information. A new scam that is gaining popularity, according to experts, focuses on the public’s desperate need for COVID-19 testing. These sites have gained attention in recent weeks over the increasing occurrences of identity theft schemes and unsanitary conditions they often possess.
Over the last few weeks, legislators and prosecutors in several states have announced that they will be investigating and introducing new legislation to fight the growing trend of unregulated testing sites that are often unsanitary and may collect personal information for identity theft.
In Baltimore, at least two such sites were identified, leading the Attorney General to warn residents to be cautious of unlicensed pop-up testing sites. Outside of St. Louis, one site was going to be asking individuals to supply their Social Security number as well as Passport information in order to register for testing.
These sites are often unsanitary as well, with some sites in Chicago found to lack basic protective equipment for workers such as masks or gloves. People who visit these sites also often reported never receiving their test results or only receiving them weeks later. The Governor of Illinois has described these testing sights as “fly-by-night” operations and recognized that they are a severe problem.
However, though a dangerous phenomenon, the sheer demand for testing means that many people are desperate enough to accept the risk. Scammers know that there is a high demand for rapid COVID-19 testing, and with several states reporting a severe shortage of these tests, they can take advantage of the public’s need.
In some cases, these pop-up testing sites have taken advantage of convenient placement; however, with the increasing shortages in states such as Indiana, which no longer provides rapid antigen testing for individuals between the ages of 18 and 50, these scammers can simply function based on peoples’ desperation.
Unfortunately, the sudden changes have left regulators to catch up to this latest scam. For the time being, it is up to the public to apply caution when visiting pop-up COVID-19 testing sites. If a site is asking for information that they would have no reason to know, such as Social Security numbers or other sensitive information, do not give it to them.
If you have already visited one of these sites, then it is important to pay attention to your bank accounts and credit reports to ensure that your identity hasn’t been stolen. You may also consider performing a self-background check to ensure your identity hasn’t been used for criminal purposes.
You can learn the current status of your online identity by running a quick and easy self background check. Learn more by Clicking Here.