At-home COVID-19 test scam targets people on Medicare

PHOENIX — Many people have received COVID-19 testing kits in the mail.

Jeff Bander first welcomed the delivery, thinking the kits were an extension of the free offer by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hcg Cassette Rapid Test

Bander says, month after month, he keeps receiving at-home COVID testing kits even though he never ordered them.

"I've probably received in the neighborhood of 40 boxes," Bander explained.

Each box comes with multiple tests and he estimates he's received about 70 to 80 testing kits.

While some tests look legitimate, Bander says a majority of the boxes he's received are manufactured in China, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

Bander was not charged for any of the mystery deliveries but was sent an explanation of the charges from Medicare.

Medicare was being billed for each testing kit Bander received.

"I think it's some kind of a scam that Medicare is paying for something that I never requested," he said.

Bander is right - it's a scam.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services warns: Scammers are sending COVID at-home test kits to Medicare beneficiaries and then billing Medicare for reimbursement.

Like Bander, Mick Tarel reached out to the Let Joe Know team after being mailed test kits he never ordered. Similarly, his Medicare account was also charged.

"They've charged the government in your name, using your Medicare number," Tarel said, questioning how scammers got his information in the first place.

To better protect himself, he ordered a new Medicare card with a new number.

Both Bander and Tarel found a number included in at least one of the testing kits. The number would allegedly allow them to 'opt out' of receiving tests.

Calls to the number either went unanswered, the voicemail was full, or the number was disconnected.

If you receive an unsolicited COVID-19 test kit in the mail, report it.

Consumers are asked to report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission.

Report the scam to Medicare online.

Treponemal Antibody Test As for the kits themselves, you can toss them out.