People Pretending to Be CDC Officials Are Knocking on Doors, Selling Fake Coronavirus Testing

Actual health workers testing for COVID-19 in Florida. Wilfredo Lee/AP

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

At this point, it should be no surprise that there are people out there trying to profit off of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of them are more shameless in their efforts than others. But reports of a new scam happening during this time of great fear and uncertainty takes it to a new level: People are knocking on doors, impersonating Centers for Disease Control and Prevention workers, offering to test people for COVID-19 for money. 

The office of New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, sent out a release on Thursday evening alerting people to the new scam, which her office says has been happening to residents in the upstate New York county of Otsego, which includes Cooperstown. But the problem doesn’t seem to be limited to one county in New York. Local police departments in Ohio and Florida have received similar reports of a people knocking on doors, dressed in white lab coats, masks, and gloves claiming to be officials from the CDC or the Department of Health and offering to test people for COVID-19 for money. 

The scam has even made its way to South Africa. 

Though drive-through COVID-19 testing centers are starting to pop up around the country, the best way to be tested is to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC. “New Yorkers should know that no one from the CDC, or any other health agency, is knocking on doors to provide tests for the coronavirus for a fee,” James said in a statement. “We must remain vigilant against any scam designed to exploit people’s anxiety, especially during a global pandemic.”

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate