COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you're preparing for Thanksgiving gatherings or if respiratory illnesses are ripping through your household, you may be reaching for a COVID-19 test to rule out having the virus.
There are offers on social media for free kits in exchange for personal information.
Micky Hannah asks, "There are many sources suddenly offering COVID-19 test kits on [Facebook], but now are asking for more personal information, such as Medicare numbers. Are these companies legit?"
- The Federal Trade Commission
- The Department of Health and Human Services
- The Federal Communications Commission
Yes, scammers are targeting Medicare recipients by offering free COVID-19 tests
Here's what we found
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, scammers are asking for your healthcare information on social media, and then they are stealing your medical identity to bill federal healthcare programs.
Not on social media? According to the FCC, scammers are also calling people offering free tests or COVID treatments in exchange for your personal information. The Food and Drug Administration is actively cracking down on this, sending warning letters to the firms behind these fake products.
Those on Medicare Part B can get up to eight COVID-19 test kits for free each month until the public health emergency ends. The Department of Health and Human Services renewed the declaration through Jan. 11.
The bottom line, no one from Medicare will call you with an offer for a free test.
Not on Medicare and need one? Your local health department is your best bet.
Columbus Public Health has been giving test kits away at recent vaccine and flu clinics.
If you suspect a scam, report it to the Office of Inspector General.