With the rise in demand for COVID-19 testing, there has also been an increase in fraudulent testing sites, the Wall Street Journal reports.
It adds that attorneys general in half-a-dozen states have shuttered or sent warnings to suspicious pop-up testing sites. Officials say that the suspect operations collect customers' personal information, which they use to bill insurance companies or the federal government for SARS-CoV-2 testing that is never performed, the Journal adds.
For instance, it reports that Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general, has filed a lawsuit against the Center for Covid Control and an associated independent lab that alleges that they did not deliver test results or provided falsified or inaccurate results while billing the federal government for more than $113 million.
According to the Journal, clinical labs that carry out testing are highly regulated, but the sites that collect samples have less oversight, creating an opportunities for potential fraudsters. "You want to make testing available," Gigi Gronvall from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security tells it. "At the same time, when you don't have as many barriers, you open up the potential for fraud."