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Oregon AG: Report COVID-test scalpers, fraudsters

FILE - Youngstown City Health Department worker Faith Terreri grabs two at-home COVID-19 test kits to be handed out during a distribution event, Dec. 30, 2021, in Youngstown, Ohio. Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for those on their plans, the Biden administration announced Monday, as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations. (AP Photo/David Dermer, File)

The state Attorney General’s office asks Oregonians to steer clear of testing sites seeming suspicious and vendors selling at-home coronavirus test kits for sky-high prices — and to report bad actors to the Oregon Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Division.

Demand for COVID-19 testing is on the rise due to the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant, and is “drawing out bad actors and some businesses trying to make a quick buck out from the shadows,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a Wednesday release.

Warning signs at testing sites, according to Rosenblum, are pop-up sites that charge out-of-pocket fees, don’t display logos, don’t disclose the laboratory performing the test and don’t appear to be affiliated with known organizations.

Oregonians should also be suspicious of pop-up testing sites that ask for sensitive information such as a Social Security number. Officials with the Department of Justice and the Oregon Health Authority say that providers don’t need your Social Security number in order to bill insurance for the test.

To find an authorized testing site, check the Oregon Health Authority’s testing locator at healthoregon.org/covid19testing.

Officials advise Oregonians to watch out for resellers flipping at-home COVID-19 tests for inflated prices through eBay, Craigslist and NextDoor, according to Rosenblum.

A package of two tests should cost around $20, according to the release, and starting Saturday, private health insurers will cover the costs of eight at-home tests tests per month for each member of the health plan.

Online shoppers should verify that the test they’re buying is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. Find links to the FDA's lists of approved antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests at FDA.gov/medicaldevices.

Those buying from a reseller should check them out online, and should make their payment by credit card because the payments can be tracked or disputed if necessary.

Locals who believe they may have been scammed by a testing site or who spot home tests being sold for “exorbitant” prices are asked to file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection division by visiting OregonConsumer.gov or by calling 1-877-877-9392.

Anyone who may have information about fraud associated with a medical provider is asked to submit a complaint with the Oregon Health Authority’s fraud hotline at 1-888-FRAUD01 or 1-888-372-8301.