Phony COVID-19 test websites seek to gather your data

The Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin is warning people to watch out for phony COVID-19 testing websites that are actually designed to gather your personal data.

The BBB says some websites that appear in online searches for COVID-19 test sites may not be real.

"You complete an online appointment form with personal, insurance, and medical information. In some cases, a small fee is paid. But, on the day of the appointment, the pharmacy has no record of your reservation…the phony form was a way of phishing for personal information," the BBB explained in a news release.

In a more elaborate version, the BBB says people are instructed to go to an in-person location that collects a lot of data before a test is performed, but results never arrive. It was not reported if there have been any such cases in Wisconsin or Minnesota.

The BBB offers several tips to make sure you’re signing up for a legitimate test:

  • Visit state, tribal, local, or territorial health department websites to find an authorized testing site.
  • Watch out for lookalike websites. Check the URL to make sure there are no misspellings or unfamiliar names, and that there is a "lock" icon in the URL bar indicating that the website is secure.
  • Be wary of unsolicited callers and messages offering COVID tests.
  • Beware of people insisting that you pay for a test, especially if they say it will cost hundreds of dollars. COVID-19 testing is free at U.S. health centers and select pharmacies.
  • Read the fine print. Ask where personal information will be kept, if it is secure, and what lab will process the results.

LINK: WDIO COVID-19 Information Center