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California Attorney General Rob Bonta Warns Against Getting Tested For COVID-19 At Pop-Up Sites

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Pop-up COVID test sites at shopping centers, particularly those without lines, look mighty attractive to busy people in need of a last-minute test – but local officials are warning that such sites may be scammers collecting personal information.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued an alert this week to urge consumers to be aware of fake COVID testing locations and websites popping up across the state.

"Throughout California, fake testing sites are sprouting up to exploit families and individuals seeking COVID tests," Bonta said in a statement. "It is important to recognize the signs of sham testing sites to protect both your money and personal information."

pop up covid test site
(credit: Lindsy Davis)

According to Bonta, these sites pose as legitimate companies and healthcare clinics offering COVID-19 testing. Many patients don't even receive test results after paying for a test, and many of these suspicious sites ask for personal identifiable information with the intention of committing fraud.

Similar warnings have also been issued by Los Angeles County supervisors Kathryn Barger, who wants a unified county plan to mitigate COVID testing fraud, and Janice Hahn, who urged anyone who believes they visited a fake pop-up site or purchased a fake at-home test to report it to the county.

Bonta says consumers who choose to use an unaffiliated testing site to beware if a provider insists on documenting their nationality or immigration status, does not offer a notice of privacy practices, or insists on seeing a passport or driver's license to show insurance status. Consumers should also beware personal information into illegitimate websites purposely designed to look just like those of well-known organizations and state agencies, and unsolicited calls regarding test sites.

Free, legitimate testing sites are available from Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Free at-home tests can also be requested from the federal government.

Anyone who believes they may have been scammed by a fake COVID testing site can report it to the Attorney General's Office.

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