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Beware of fake COVID-19 testing sites

by Andrew Alonzo | aalonzo@claremont-courier.com

As prevalent as COVID-19 testing and vaccinations sites are throughout Los Angeles County, there are also some fake sites lurking underneath the surface that residents should be wary of.

While none have been spotted in the City of Claremont, at least three have popped up and have been weeded out throughout the South Los Angeles area, according to a recent article from ABC 7’s Eric Resendiz. Still, residents are encouraged to keep their heads on a swivel and report any fake testing or vaccination sites to the California Department of Consumer and Business Affairs.

“If you believe you have visited a fake COVID-19 pop-up site or purchased a fake COVID-19 at-home test, please report it to [the California Department of Consumer and Business Affairs] at bit.ly/DCBAHelp or call (800) 593-8222,” the chamber of commerce wrote in its weekly update.

“Accessing fake testing sites may jeopardize your privacy given personal information may be requested. Residents should never be asked for their social security number, immigration status, or credit card information.”

According to a recent article from the Los Angeles Times by Karen Garcia, warning signs to look out for are as follows:

  • A suspected fake site or provider asks about your nationality or immigration status.
  • A site asks for your social security number.
  • The site provides no notice of privacy practices provided or explanation for how your personal data will be used.
  • A provider demands or insists on viewing your passport or driver’s license when you have other documents which show your insurance status.
  • Employees at the site are not wearing full protective gear.
  • At testing sites which required you to sign up online, there are misspellings or unusual names in the website URL.
  • Misspellings that appear in forms that ask for personal information.
  • Residents receive unsolicited calls or texts from the testing site following their vaccination. If you do receive one, do not provide any personal information until you have confirmed that source of the call or text is legitimate.

Remember, it never hurts to ask questions about the testing or vaccination process to the staff.

If you believe or have actually fallen victim to such a scam, you are encouraged to not only report the fake COVID-19 site, but also call your local police department or sheriff’s office. You can also file a complaint online with the California attorney general’s office or by phone by calling the offices of the United States Department of Health and human services at (800) 447-8477.

Legitimate testing and vaccine sites can be found online at covid19.lacounty.gov/testing at https://testing.1degree.org or by calling 2-1-1.

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