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SCAM ALERT: BBB says texts about 'mandatory' coronavirus testing are fake

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Posted at 12:45 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 13:46:12-04

MILWAUKEE (NBC 26) -- The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning of another scam that preys on people's anxieties about the coronavirus pandemic.

While other scams have used fake masks or fake government grants, this most recent scam uses fake tests.

In the past few days, BBB says it has gotten numerous reports of phony text messages claiming to be from a government agency. The phony texts tells you that you must take a “mandatory online COVID-19 test” and has a link to a website. But the BBB says there is no online test for coronavirus.

Other types of text message scams related to coronavirus will ask you to complete "the census" or fill out an online application in order to receive your stimulus check.

The BBB says to not click the link, no matter what the message says. Texts like these are phishing for personal information or trying to get you to download malware to your device that can open you up to identity theft.

Here are four tips from the BBB on spotting a coronavirus text message scam:

  1. Government agencies do not typically communicate through text messages
  2. Ignore instructions to text "STOP" or "NO" to prevent future texts; this is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number
  3. If you think your text message is real, be sure it's directing you to a web address ending in ".gov" or ".ca", not ".com"
  4. Check for look-alikes by doing your research to see if a government agency or organization exists; find contact info on your own and call them to be sure the text message if legitimate

For more information on COVID-19 (coronavirus) go to BBB.org/Coronavirus.

If you have questions or want more information, you can call the Wisconsin BBB at (414) 847-6000 or (1-800) 273-1002.