How to avoid bogus COVID testing sites in the Houston area

HOUSTON, Texas – With the U.S. now averaging over 150,000 new COVID cases each day, Americans are flooding into testing sites, desperate for results which Porfirio Villarreal with the Houston Health Department says sets the stage for scam artists to try and game the system by operating bogus testing sites.

”We need to remember that when it comes to increased demand for anything, you have scammers coming out of the woodwork”, Villarreal said.

Villareal says a legitimate COVID-19 testing site will never ask you for your social security number, credit card number or bank information.

If you are asked to provide any of those things, it’s a scam and you need to walk or drive away as fast as possible. Don’t let them test you and don’t give them any personal information.

”You never provide your social security number or your credit card number to anyone,” he said. “That is a way of scamming you out of your money.”

Villarreal says a legitimate testing site may ask you for your identification card or driver’s license and may ask for your health insurance card, that is acceptable.

They will also ask for your email address or phone number so they can send you your test results.

Villarreal says a legitimate test provider will also send you a email or text to confirm your appointment time immediately after you schedule your appointment.

If you don’t get one, that is a huge red flag.

Finally remember, these tests are completely free, their should never even be a mention of any kind of cost or charge to you in any way.

”You don’t want to pay,” he said. “The testing and the COVID shots are free. The government has arranged for them to be always free, so you don’t have to pay for anything and cannot be charged for anything. Anything else is a scam.”

Finally, Villarreal says the wait time for getting your test results should be within 48 hours or less.

Results that take four or five days are another red flag that you have been scammed.

”The PCR test is the golden test, that is going to be the most accurate because it looks at the genetic material,” he said. “So, two days is what is the average amount of time you should have to wait.”

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Emmy-winning investigative reporter, insanely competitive tennis player, skier, weightlifter, crazy rock & roll drummer (John Bonham is my hero). Husband to Veronica and loving cat father to Bella and Meemo.