Illinois AG warns of fake COVID-19 ‘pop-up’ testing sites

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Some “pop-up” COVID-19 testing sites in Illinois have turned out to be fake, with the likely goal of trying to fraudulently obtain people’s personal information, the state attorney general’s office warned this week.

“These testing sites are not licensed or regulated by any government agency, and the Attorney General’s office cannot confirm the legitimacy of individual pop-up testing locations,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office said in a news release, FOX 32 of Chicago reported.

“We’re concerned about sites that may never actually do the testing. Sites that may utilize your private information to seek reimbursement again and again,” the statement added.

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State residents were advised to avoid giving out personal information and to pay attention to potential red flags, such as safety violations or a requirement for patrons to pay for cash-only services. 

Graham Roark, 8, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years from Lurie Children's hospital registered nurse Virginia Scheffler at the hospital Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. 

Graham Roark, 8, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years from Lurie Children’s hospital registered nurse Virginia Scheffler at the hospital Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. 
(Associated Press)

“If you look at certain sites and people aren’t even observing safety protocols at the site, that should be a signal to you right there. If they’re asking for too much information, that might be a signal that they’re gonna utilize that information for something else,” Raoul said.

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“Additionally, people should be aware that most testing sites will not request payment out of pocket and will instead bill insurance companies, or, if individuals are uninsured, seek reimbursement from a federal fund,” he added.

No pop-up facilities have been d for fraud, but officials in Chicago have begun to investigate sites for impropriety. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot gets a COVID-19 booster vaccine at Michele Clark High School on Nov. 12, 2021 in Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot gets a COVID-19 booster vaccine at Michele Clark High School on Nov. 12, 2021 in Chicago.
(Getty Images)

People who believe they have experienced suspected criminal activity are encouraged to file a complaint on the attorney general’s website.

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Those looking to verify the legitimacy of a pop-up testing site can visit the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Cook County Department of Public Health, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services websites.

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated and having received a booster shot.

The mayor said she had “cold-like symptoms” but otherwise felt OK.

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