The Oregon Department of Justice opened an investigation this week into a company called The Center for Covid Control, which has been accused of operating suspicious COVID-19 test sites.

The company is being investigated for potential violations of the Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

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As the demand for testing grows and the omicron variant surge roars on, Kristina Edmunson, spokesperson for the Oregon Office of the Attorney General, said it’s important for Oregonians to keep an eye out for COVID test scams.

“We’ve continued to get consumer complaints about just suspicious testing centers and sites that are popping up throughout the state,” Edmunson said.

She said to look out for testing sites charging out-of-pocket fees, asking for sensitive personal or financial information, or websites that lack logos or contact information.

“One of the most important things that we’re really encouraging people to do is to ask questions about the laboratory performing the test,” Edmunson said.

Edmunson said a great way to avoid a scam is to go to testing sites affiliated with or recommended by a trusted organization like the Oregon Health Authority.

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“We really want to hear from Oregonians who think they may see suspicious testing sites or have information for us,” she said. “We certainly want to hear from folks either by visiting us on our website to submit a consumer complaint or calling our attorney general’s consumer hotline.”

If you have information about, or think you have been scammed by a COVID-19 testing site, or if you want to report the price of COVID-19 at-home tests being sold for exorbitant prices, please file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice at www.OregonConsumer.Gov or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.

If you have information about fraud associated with a medical provider, please file a complaint with OHA’s Fraud Hotline at 1-888-FRAUD01 (1-888-372-8301) or online.

Edmunson added that some individuals were selling tests at inflated prices in online markets like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

“We’re seeing people sell them for $30, $40, $50 for a test,” she said. “So, we want people to really be aware of that. And I know that there is quite a markup happening in some of the individual tests that individuals are selling online.”

While individual sales of the tests at marked-up prices isn’t illegal, Edmonson said, it’s still something to avoid. Any businesses or testing sites selling tests at high rates should be reported.

The attorney general’s office said the average price for a package of two at-home COVID-19 tests should be around $20. Starting Saturday, private insurers will have to cover the cost of eight at-home tests per person every month.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends making sure the agency has authorized the test you’re buying and searching online for the website, company, or seller’s name plus words like “scam” or “complaint.” The FDA advises shoppers to compare online reviews from a variety of websites and to be sure to pay by credit card — not a money order, prepaid card, or another form of payment that cannot be tracked or disputed.

A sign outside a downtown CVS pharmacy alerts customers that home COVID-19 tests are out of stock at the location, Jan. 7, 2022.

A sign outside a downtown CVS pharmacy alerts customers that home COVID-19 tests are out of stock at the location, Jan. 7, 2022.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

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