By District Attorney Summer Stephan
As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessibility between the DA’s Office and you, the community. One way I have been doing that is through this monthly column, where I provide consumer tips on public safety matters.
Although most people have come together during the COVID-19 pandemic by staying home, social distancing and wearing face coverings to limit the spread of the coronavirus, not everyone has been playing by the same rules. Scammers have come-up with new ways to prey on fear and insecurity by offering fake in-home testing kits and even phony testing sites to trick people out of their personal information and hard-earned money.
Fortunately, the capacity for COVID-19 testing in San Diego County has recently increased and there are currently 17 public testing sites operating in the County. Health plans are required cover COVID-19 tests at no cost to the enrollee, even for people who are not showing symptoms. However, the Department of Public Health recommends that you first contact your healthcare provider for a COVID-19 test.
If you are unable to get a test from your healthcare provider, the County has coordinated free diagnostic COVID-19 testing at many locations. Appointments are required and can be made up to one week in advance. You can make an appointment online through the County’s website or through calling 211.
There are also private-for-fee testing sites that are operating in the County. If you go to a testing site outside of those recommended by your health care provider or County Public Health, there is no way to ensure the tests are genuine and effective. Also, you may find you are billed for a service that should otherwise be free to you.
Be aware that scammers are selling phony in-home testing kits. As of today, there is no federally approved in-home coronavirus testing kits for the general public.
Here are tips to help identify fake testing-sites:
District Attorney Summer Stephan has dedicated more than 29 years to serving justice and victims of crime as prosecutor. She is a national leader in fighting sex crimes and human trafficking and in creating smart and fair criminal justice solutions and restorative justice practices that treat the underlying causes of addiction and mental illness and that keep young people from being incarcerated.