FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The Better Business Bureau is warning you to be on the lookout for fake websites as you order your free at-home test kits from the government.
"Mainly they like to get your personal information to turn around and use it later for identity theft purposes," said Monica Horton with the BBB of North Central Texas. "You could land on a malicious website that places malware on your computer and there's all sorts of things they can do with that."
Horton said it's best the beware of what you see on social media. You may see ads pop up, directing you to phony websites offering free COVID tests. Those sites can often be convincing.
"They are tricky," Horton said. "At first glance you may think you are on the actual website."
One of the best things you can do is to remember the real website: www.covidtests.gov.
The BBB's advice for identifying fake websites:
- Look closely at the domain name. One way fake websites trick people is by using a domain name that is extremely close to an actual business's or organization's domain name. For example, the correct COVID-19 test request website is special.usps.com/testkits. Scammers may swap two letters or make a slight misspelling. If you find a spelling error in the domain name, you're not on the official site, and it is best to close the tab. Also, check if the website is secure by verifying it has a lock icon in the URL and includes 'https.'
- Watch out for tricky subdomains. Sometimes attackers hope you will confuse a subdomain with the domain name. For example, a scammer might use the website address 'usps.faketestkit.com,' hoping you won't notice that 'faketestkit.com' is not the correct domain name. A domain name is the word or words directly before the top-level domain ('.com', '.org', '.gov', etc.) as well as the top-level domain. In this case, the domain name is actually 'faketestkit.com' with the subdomain 'usps,' whereas the correct website's domain name is 'usps.com' with a subdomain of 'special.'
- The correct website asks only for your name and address. You do not need to pay for the tests using the government program – even for shipping. And you will not be asked for insurance details, your Social Security number or any other sensitive information.
For more information
Visit BBB.org to learn more about identifying fake websites and spotting impostor scams. Read about other popular COVID-19 scams and additional testing scams.
If you've spotted a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker, even if you didn't fall victim or lose any money. Your report can help others avoid common scam tactics.
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