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COVID-19 Website Scams Are Already Happening—Here’s How To Avoid Them

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Jan. 20 2022, Published 2:27 a.m. ET

The Biden administration has announced that people will now be able to get free COVID-19 tests online through USPS. Test seekers can go online, input their information, and get tests delivered to their door. However, lookalike have websites popped up with the intent to scam people.

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The website for the free rapid tests to be accessed is https://www.covidtests.gov. That site directs visitors to https://special.usps.com/testkits to place an order for the test. But a few copycat websites, such as covidtestsgov, freecovidtestimg, centerforcovidtesting, and covidrapidtesting, have appeared.

Fake COVID-19 testing websites

It's easy to fall prey to any of these sites, especially ones that include “gov” in the name. The trick to spotting scams is remembering that legit government websites end in ".gov", not "gov.com". Mashable reports that covidtestsgov.com takes visitors to a second site, where they'll be charged $39.97 for every pack of two tests. However, tests from USPS are free.

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rapid covid tests
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A healthcare worker in Thailand prepares rapid COVID tests

The scam site was reportedly registered on Jan. 13, 2022, whereas the Biden administration's website wasn't launched until Jan. 18. Unfortunately, COVID-19 tests have become associated with scams. Malicious parties are using test seekers' personal information to commit identity fraud and other crimes.

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Why people haven't been able to claim their tests

Scam sites aren't the only thing blocking people from getting a test. NewsNation reports that people in certain living situations, specifically those living in households with multiple individuals, can run into difficulties. In larger households, it's important to verify who has already ordered the tests, as placing more than one order from an address may result in an error message.

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People living in guesthouses, condos, and apartments may encounter a similar problem. It's important to check how addresses are entered (for example, apartment numbers may have to be entered as “Apt. 1” rather than "#1"), and they need to be written in a way that USPS can recognize. For this, it's helpful to use the USPS address look-up tool.

Furthermore, landlords who rent a property that they live in may receive the message “The address you entered is listed as a business.” The same goes for people who live in a building connected to a commercial property. If issues persist, test seekers are encouraged to file a service request. Above all, it's key to exercise caution when seeking a test or testing center.

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