FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Better Business Bureau warns you to be on the lookout for bogus websites when ordering your free home test kits from the government.
“Primarily, they love having your personal information turned around and later using it for impersonation purposes,” said Monica Horton of the North Central Texas BBB. “You could land on a malicious website that puts malware on your computer and there are all sorts of things they can do with it.”
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Horton said it’s best to be wary of what you see on social media. You may see advertisements popping up, directing you to fake websites offering free COVID tests. These sites can often be persuasive.
“They’re tricky,” Horton said. “At first glance, you may think you are on the actual website.”
One of the best things you can do is remember the real website: www.covidtests.gov.
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BBB tips for identifying fake sites:
- Look carefully at the domain name. One of the ways fake websites trick people is by using a domain name that is extremely similar to the domain name of a real business or organization. For example, the correct COVID-19 test request website is special.usps.com/testkits. Scammers can swap two letters or make a slight spelling mistake. If you find a spelling mistake in the domain name, you are not on the official site, and it is better to close the tab. Also check if the website is secure by checking that it has a lock icon in the URL and includes “https”.
- Beware of 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 that you won’t notice that “faketestkit.com” is the wrong 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 “usps” subdomain, while the correct website domain name is “usps.com” with a “special” subdomain.
- The right website only asks for your name and address. You don’t need to pay for testing using the government program – even for shipping. And you won’t be asked for details about your insurance, social security number, or other sensitive information.
For more information
Visit BBB.org to learn more about identifying fake websites and detecting scams by imposters. Check out other popular COVID-19 scams and additional testing scams.
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If you’ve spotted a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker, even if you haven’t fallen victim to it or lost money. Your report can help others avoid common scam tactics.