(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today is advising Connecticut residents that as demand for COVID-19 testing increases across the country, they should be on the lookout for scam artists seeking to take advantage of people most in need, including when searching for places to get tested. People in Connecticut are encouraged to use the state’s official coronavirus website – ct.gov/coronavirus – or the website of a provider like their local health clinic, hospital, or pharmacy to find a testing site. The governor said that these are reliable sources that can ensure people’s personal and health information will be protected.
“Our testing program is one of the most robust in the country,” Governor Lamont said. “It’s troubling that scam artists would try to capitalize on that, but I know our municipalities — with our support — will continue to act quickly to stop these bad actors. Our residents should never hesitate to find a test if they are experiencing symptoms, living in a densely populated area, or living in an area with an outbreak.”
COVID-19 testing sites in the state are run by institutions like hospitals, health clinics, and pharmacies that have the clinical background and appropriate licenses to oversee healthcare operations. There have been a small number of reports, most recently in Bridgeport, of pop-up testing sites claiming to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and even local public health clinics.
Here’s what Connecticut residents should know to find valid testing sites:
- Those looking to locate testing sites are encouraged to use the testing locator feature at ct.gov/coronavirus or by call 2-1-1. Sites listed through the state have been vetted and are legitimate.
- If residents notice a pop-up testing site that is not at a health clinic, they should check ct.gov/coronavirus or call 2-1-1 to verify the testing site’s legitimacy before giving the site any personal information.
- People will never be asked for their social security number or financial information to get a test for COVID-19. If someone asks for this information, it is a scam.
- People should never be asked for cash at a testing site.
- When someone is tested for COVID-19, their information will be kept safe. The only people in touch with the patient after a test will be from their testing provider and – if the patient tests positive – a contact tracer.
If residents believe they visited a fraudulent testing site or that their information may have been compromised, they should:
- Contact their local police department and department of public health.
- File a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Public Health Office of Facility Licensing and Investigations at dphflisevents.ct.gov/Complaints. They may also send an email to DPH.FLISlab@ct.gov.
- Visit identitytheft.gov to report identity theft and make a plan to protect themselves.
- Review any bank or credit card accounts to ensure no activity looks suspicious. If something appears suspicious, they should report it to their bank or credit card company immediately.
“Since the start of the pandemic, Connecticut has been able to significantly bolster its testing capacity which has been a critical tool in defeating the spread of COVID-19,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said. “In recent weeks, however, we have seen scammers set up fake COVID-19 testing sites trying to cash in on this pandemic. That’s why it’s so important that all of our residents take the necessary precautions when finding a testing site. Before getting tested, verify a testing site’s legitimacy by calling 2-1-1 or checking our state website. Make sure you visit a healthcare facility like a hospital or community health center, and verify that a pop-up testing site is run by one of those trusted entities. If you are experiencing any symptoms or were exposed to someone who is positive, don’t hesitate to get tested.”
“Testing plays an important role in public health and safety during this pandemic – but it’s important that our residents have confidence in the quality and legitimacy of the site they’re visiting,” Connecticut Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said. “I encourage everyone to visit ct.gov/coronavirus to find a test, and to continue following public health guidelines – including staying home if you feel sick, or have a known exposure to someone who has COVID-19.”
“It is important to get tested for COVID-19, and residents should not be deterred by potential scammers,” Connecticut Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull said. “Most testing sites are legitimate, but there are some people out there who are unfortunately hoping to take advantage of a high-stress time for personal gain. We don’t want the occurrence of these scams to deter people from getting tested for COVID-19, but just as you would take steps to avoid scams in other parts of your life, it is also important to take precautions when choosing a testing site. Simple and easy steps like using ct.gov/coronavirus or calling 2-1-1 to quickly verify a testing site is legitimate is the easiest way to protect yourself. A legitimate testing site will never ask you for your social security number or bank account information or require a payment.”
“Scammers are always looking for ways to exploit crises for personal gain, and this pandemic is no different,” Attorney General William Tong said. “Through our joint state and federal COVID-19 fraud task force, we are investigating a wide range of misconduct, including healthcare fraud, price gouging, charities fraud and lending scams. If you are aware of COVID-19 related fraud or abuse, I want to know about it. The vast majority of testing sites are legitimate and licensed and no one should be deterred from getting a test. By taking basic precautions like checking first with ct.gov/coronavirus or by calling 2-1-1, you can be sure your test is safe, secure and legitimate.”
“Bridgeport residents are fortunate to have access to various official COVID-19 testing sites throughout the city,” Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said. “We remain steadfast in our efforts to encourage everyone to get tested and take precautionary measures for their health and safety. While this is our new reality we will also safeguard against any individual that illegitimately uses this crisis as an opportunity to take advantage of people who are seeking help to prevent the spread of COVID in our community.”