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That at-home COVID-19 test you bought online could be fake

There are ways to ensure you're not getting scammed.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With the omicron variant continuing to infect people at a record rate in the Carolinas and the wait to receive free at-home COVID test kits from the Biden administration, more and more people are filling the gap by buying at-home COVID-19 test kits online.

There's just one problem: not all test kits are created equal. In fact, there are reports of sites selling kits that look like the real deal, but don’t actually work as promised.

It’s a scam that can not only waste your hard-earned money but also put you and others at risk by giving you negative test results when you actually have the virus.

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Here are four practical tips to make sure you aren't getting scammed:

Check FDA.gov

A simple search on the Food and Drug Administration website will give you the information needed to make sure the test you’re buying online is in fact authorized for emergency use.

Investigate the website before you buy.

Search for reviews from customers who have already purchased tests from the company in question. If the reviews are overwhelmingly negative, you might want to find another seller.

Don’t use your debit card.

Using a credit card can come with certain consumer protections a debit card does not, like being able to dispute a charge if what you receive isn’t what was promised when purchased.

Opt for in-person testing at a trusted COVID testing site.

Find testing locations that offer walk-in, no appointment necessary testing options here

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WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.

Contact Carolyn Bruck at cbruck@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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