Beware of fake coronavirus antibody tests, the FBI warns

Scammers continue to capitalize on coronavirus misinforma...

Posted: Jun 29, 2020 3:12 PM
Updated: Jun 29, 2020 3:25 PM

Scammers continue to capitalize on coronavirus misinformation by offering fake antibody tests, the FBI warned, which could be used to steal personal information.

The FBI said this month that fraudsters are touting fake or unproven antibody tests and marketing them to people to steal Social Security numbers or health insurance information.

Antibody tests are used to determine whether someone was infected with Covid-19 in the past and has since developed antibodies, which protect the body from becoming infected with Covid-19 again.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved some antibody tests, and they've all been previously tested by the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute or another government agency. But it's not easy to make that distinction when you're being offered an antibody test over the phone.

The FBI said being offered a test at all is one sign you're being scammed. Labs test patients who request them, and if marketers offer free tests or dangle incentives for getting one, that's a red flag.

Other warnings include targeted ads on social media, email or unsolicited phone calls -- if you're being offered a test without expressing interest through your doctor, say no, the FBI said.

And if you've received individual calls, texts or emails from unknown people telling you that the government requires you to take an antibody test, that's not true either. Antibody tests are voluntary.

Before you agree to any antibody tests, the FBI recommends you talk with your doctor -- they should know the tests that are FDA-approved and considered accurate. The FBI also suggests using well-known labs approved by your health insurance and never sharing personal information with anyone besides your health care provider.

This is just the latest in a months-long string of coronavirus scams. Since the pandemic began in March, fraudsters have called and texted people saying they've been infected with coronavirus and lead them to a link to submit personal information. Scammers also call people and tell them they must provide a hospital with personal and financial information over the phone because someone they know is sick with coronavirus.

The coronavirus antibody tests aren't always reliable as it is, because it's not clear when coronavirus antibodies develop in the body or whether every coronavirus patient will develop antibodies at all. But tests could become an important indicator of the virus's spread when scientists answer some lingering questions.

Even FDA-approved coronavirus antibody tests may be inaccurate up to 50% of the time. In May, the CDC warned healthcare providers that coronavirus antibodies are expected to be low in most of the country, so testing could create more false-positive results (meaning that the test results indicate they've been infected when they haven't), and they shouldn't be used by policymakers to decide when to reopen spaces like offices and dorms.

Scroll for more content...

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2083623

Reported Deaths: 52914
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings27718310311
Queens2740339845
Suffolk1994113379
Nassau1822533161
Bronx1812316529
New York1368284447
Westchester1288352266
Erie883501776
Richmond739711809
Monroe667001074
Orange47851810
Rockland46656955
Onondaga38048671
Dutchess29175444
Albany24428350
Oneida22251505
Niagara19686360
Broome18344357
Saratoga15113166
Ulster13762251
Schenectady12988200
Rensselaer11104140
Putnam1053991
Chautauqua8807141
Chemung7554135
Oswego743690
Ontario729992
Steuben6775143
Sullivan654972
St. Lawrence650796
Cayuga621492
Jefferson593166
Wayne565067
Cattaraugus560087
Genesee5348123
Herkimer5102107
Clinton480333
Madison447188
Livingston437158
Fulton433891
Tompkins424151
Montgomery4203123
Columbia4008101
Cortland375660
Tioga369562
Warren358557
Wyoming351152
Allegany343384
Chenango340276
Otsego340047
Greene336575
Washington308555
Orleans305183
Lewis270734
Franklin251812
Delaware232037
Seneca198056
Schoharie166216
Essex157726
Yates116826
Schuyler103014
Hamilton3072
Unassigned12450
Out of NY0237
Utica
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 71°
Oneonta
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 64°
Herkimer
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 71°
Old Forge
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 71°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve