Alert about covid-19 testing fraud in LA County

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In Los Angeles, a hunt for COVID testing has practically broken out. Angelenos spend hours browsing the Internet in search of a testing site, then have to wait long hours for the test, and sometimes the results never come back. This situation makes many wonder if they have not been victims of fraud, or if their personal information has not been sold or stolen.

Lupita Guerrero began experiencing symptoms of covid on Monday. The next day he went to the nearest place. After waiting in line for two hours, he had to go home without being tested because the tests ran out.

“I came back the next day and after 4 hours of waiting, I was finally able to take the exam.”

However, after several days of waiting for her results, a friend took pity on her, and took a covid self-examination to her home. Guerrero came out positive.

Alicia Acosta went to the Cypress Park Branch Library for her exam on January 6 at a clinic in Flow Health / Core, but almost a week later, January 12 has not had its results.

“I felt frustrated and with great anguish for not knowing the results or having any communication from Flow Health. They don’t answer emails. On their Twitter page, in their most recent post, they note that “if you visit a public testing site, there are no promises of response time.” Is incredible!”.

They warn that it is not valid to ask for your social security number to take the covid-19 test. (Araceli Martínez / La Opinion)

Alicia got a home self-exam that revealed that she was negative for COVID. However, she is now very concerned that the clinic Flow Health could misuse your personal data. “They ask us for our social security number, and photos of identification and medical insurance to do the test.”

The reality – he says – is that he is afraid that his data will be sold or that he will suffer identity theft.

“I would like to know where to make a complaint. When you urgently go for a covid test, you are in a very vulnerable state, and you do not think at that moment that you can be extorted or that your information will be used for profit or identity theft. You are not thinking clearly. He gives them whatever it takes as long as they do the exam and find out if he has covid ”.

The opinion contacted Flow Health but it has not had a response about the delays in the delivery of results or about the use of the information they collect to take the covid test. According to the Cypress Park Branch Library, Flow Health works with the Core lab.

Clinics like Glow Health that work with CORE laboratories are not sending their test results. (Araceli Martínez / La Opinion)

Key questions

Virginia Gaglionone, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health’s vaccination campaign, says the social security number is not required to get tested for covid.

“If they ask you, it is a bad sign. You have every right not to give it, and that cannot be a reason for not taking the exam ”.

He adds that it is important to ask at the test site, to which laboratory they are going to send the covid tests and for the license of the business that is doing the test.

“This is in order to protect your personal information from being sold.”

The best thing, says Gaglionone, before going to a site to be tested for covid, is to verify the legitimacy of the place at the following link: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OSPHLD/LFS/Pages/ FacilitiesVerification.aspx

To report fraudulent testing sites, visit: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OSPHLD/LFS/Pages/Complaints.aspx.

Joshua Montalvo, a businessman in south central Los Angeles, says a friend of his felt terrible and went to line up for the exam. “After three hours of waiting, they told him that if he didn’t bring his cell phone they couldn’t do it. How frustrating ”.

Salvador Lucero says that he went on January 6 to take the test, but as the days passed and they did not give him results, he desperately went to another place to take the exam again. “Now I am waiting for those results.”

Los Angeles (United States), 03/01 / 2022.- Matt (L) administers a Covid-19 test on his son Adam (R), 5 years-old, at a pop-up testing site in Los Angeles, California, USA, 03 January 2022. According to latest reports Los Angeles County is facing its highest rate of coronavirus transmission since the early stages of the pandemic.  Over the last week, more than one in five of those tested were positive, and 45000 new cases were detected over the weekend.  (United States) EFE / EPA / ETIENNE LAURENT
A father gives his 5-year-old son a rapid test for covid-19 in an emergency center, in Los Angeles. (EFE)

How to mitigate fraud

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger asked various county departments, including the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Health Services, the Sheriff’s Department and several others, to work together to develop a robust plan to mitigate COVID-19 test fraud in Los Angeles County.

As the urgent need for testing grows, it is imperative that we ensure that residents can be sure that they are receiving an accurate and legitimate test without risking their private information.”Said Supervisor Barger.

“We must do everything we can to crack down on COVID-19 scam testing and sites and prevent identity theft.”

As a result of Supervisor Barger’s motion at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, several county departments agreed to conduct a risk analysis of covid-19 test sites and fraudulent home test kits as well as develop a plan. compliance to eradicate them.

They will also identify additional resources to combat identity theft by illegitimate evidence providers.

Supervisor Barger’s motion also urged departments to develop a public education plan so county residents can be aware of the threats from fake covid-19 tests and test kits to learn how to identify them and find legitimate resources.

Cases on the rise

The Department of Public Health reported that the Omicron variant continues to advance in the county. On January 12, there were 40,452 positive cases and 39 new deaths in Los Angeles County.

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