Beware of these COVID testing websites that mimic the USPS page
Well, it didn’t take long.
Less than 24 hours after the United States Postal Service launched an official website allowing Americans to request free rapid coronavirus tests, websites with eerily similar URLs are trying to trick people into buying expensive tests . It’s true, the scammers are out there.
For the record, the official government site for ordering free rapid tests is https://www.covidtests.gov/ (a link on this page takes visitors to https://special.usps.com/testkits). Despite the similarity, sites like covidtestsgov.com are not official government sites – and actually links to expensive rapid tests for sale.
Yeah, don’t go here.
Credit: Screenshot: covidtestsgov.com
And we mean expensive. Clicking on the “COVID Home Testing Kits” option on covidtestsgov.com will take a potential visitor to another site where rapid tests are listed for $39.97 per two-pack. Again, the USPS will send up to four tests per household for free.
Free or $399.97?
Credit: Screenshot: Medident Supplies
Last week the The Federal Trade Commission has warned fake in-person coronavirus testing sites. In other words, the issue of fake testing locations is high on the government’s radar.
In particular, according to a WHOIS search, covidtestsgov.com was only registered on January 13, 2022. This in all likelihood means that the surprisingly similar URL is not a coincidence. Rather, it suggests an attempt to capture possible similar URLs prior to the White House’s announcement of the official free COVID testing webpage.
And covidtestsgov.com isn’t the only COVID testing website with an eyebrow-raising URL.
We contacted the USPS and asked if they had any comments on these similar URLs, but received no immediate response. We also contacted the White House press office to try to determine why the administration’s plan did not involve locking down similar URLs before the launch of the https://www.covidtests.gov/ website, but we couldn’t get anyone on the phone.
Here’s how to get free COVID tests delivered to your door right now
That someone could register official-looking URLs for the purpose of scamming Americans in times of crisis should have come as no surprise to the White House. Indeed, it is a sad tradition that goes back at least to Hurricane Katrina days.
I hope we have all learned something over the past 16 years, even if our elected officials have not.