By Andrea Alvarez

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – As the demand for testing increases in 2022, so does the risk for potential scams. The Florida Department of Health is warning residents about potential Covid-19 scams hitting the bay area. They say Covid-19 testing is giving criminals an easy break on gaining access to your personal, medical, and even financial information. The Food and Drug Administration says there’s been an uptick in unauthorized fraudulent Covid-19 test kits being sold online. Now, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County is urging residents to be on the lookout.

“The vaccine sites, testing sites are listed on the websites are the ones that you can feel comfortable going to,” said Ryan L. Terry, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County.

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In early January, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a warning about Covid-19 scammers looking to get ahold of your personal information. “The office has received reports of fake test sites, people impersonating health-care workers at legitimate sites and at-home testing scams. In Sarasota, law enforcement received reports of suspicious individuals impersonating health care workers at a legitimate testing site,” Moody said in a statement.

The Sarasota Police Department responded to that incident report. I reached out for an update on the report made, but police say they were never able to locate anyone matching the description and no further similar reports were submitted in relation to fake Covid-19 tests.

The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County is giving tips of caution.

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“Be skeptical of offers or advertisements for covid-19 testing on social media that aren’t public sites or aren’t through Walgreens or CVS or publix or some of our other partners,” said Terry.

Other things to look out for are unexpected phone calls or visitors offering Covid-19 tests and offers on social media.

“When you’re purchasing at-home test kits from street vendors, I mean there’s a shortage of test kits our there so odds are, anything that you’re getting from a street vendor is cause to be suspicious,” said Terry.

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For more tips and resources to report fraudulent incidents, click here.