- The Washington Times - Monday, December 21, 2020

If you or someone you care about lives in or around Baltimore, beware. Some COVID-19 test sites are rip-offs.

They’re stealing Social Security numbers, dates of birth, insurance and Medicare info, and any other personal information an unsuspecting person could give them.

Federal and state governments are on the case.

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh unloaded the news Monday, calling the “free” popup COVID-19 testing tables in Baltimore illegal and unlicensed.

He also said these “free” fake sites are not following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for collecting, handling and testing specimens.

The bottom line means you and your loved ones could be at risk of not only the virus but identify theft as well — including you and your family’s DNA.

Mr. Frosh named at least two sites: One is outside a Dollar Store on East Monument Street, and another is in the Westside Shopping Center on Frederick Avenue.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services also updated its website Thursday, warning patients and other consumers to be vigilant against telemarketing phone calls, text messages, social platforms and door-to-door visits.

Federal, state and local authorities are all on the same page when it comes to these COVID-19 scams: Resist the temptation to clink on a link, hold a conversation with robo-callers or unfamiliar callers, and do not send a text message.

For sure, lots of folks are out of jobs because of COVID-19, but don’t help out the shady ones by providing your or someone else’s personal information that they can sell on the dark web.

As the saying goes: If the “goodie” they’re offering during the pandemic sounds too good to be true, it is.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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