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

Omicron remains the dominant COVID-19 variant in US
Omicron remains the dominant COVID-19 variant in US(Source: WMC)
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 11:03 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Alex Wehrspann says his mother got tested for COVID-19 at a local clinic and got her results back in two days. However, two weeks after that he got a text message on his phone directed to her, which alerted him.

”It specifically says her name, and it says, ‘Your test results are ready’, which I found kind of odd because she had already gotten her test results,” he remembered.

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

”There was just a bunch of stuff that just seemed a little bit ‘scam-y’,” he said. “It just did not seem right.”

With a rise in COVID-19 cases comes a rise in potential scams as well. Dubuque County interim public health director Samantha Kloft said Wehrspann did the right thing by not providing his information and researching the app. She also asked people to look into the lab where they plan on getting tested.

”If the test center that you are going to does not provide you a contact phone number, tells you that they are not taking insurance or that they are asking you to pay out of pocket for your test, those are all red flags to avoid and maybe going to another testing site,” she underscored.

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

”We know that Test Iowa is the program throughout the state here that offers free PCR testing that you can take home with you,” she added.

And she warned against pop-up testing 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 regulation or authority over those sites,” Kloft explained.

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

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