LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Attorney General's Office is now watching the fraudsters behind the fake pop-up testing sites, and said they are ready to shut them down if they re-open.
A spokesperson from the office said the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection and Medicaid Fraud divisions were made aware of pop-up sites in Louisville that purported to test for COVID-19 on Wednesday. She said they opened an investigation and were “prepared to seek their immediate closure had the sites re-opened”.
The attorney general will be “serving civil investigative demands on those responsible for the sites, and our Medicaid Fraud division will be watching for any fraudulent billings over the coming weeks and months,” she added.
The AG's office is only one of several agencies now investigating the scammers. Friday, the FBI confirmed a state-wide COVID-19 Law Enforcement Task Force has taken notice.
"We are very aware of the situation, we are monitoring the situation, we are working side by side with LMPD, Kentucky State Police, the secret service, IRS, CPB, HIS, postal service on this specific issue”, FBI Special Agent in Charge, James Brown, said.
Brown said the task force meets weekly to discuss tips and compare notes. “We’ll make sure we’re not duplicating efforts so we can use our limited resources to protect folks in Kentucky,” he explained.
Brown said the FBI has multiple COVID-19 related scams on their radar. "We're definitely seeing tips increased which is good, we want those to come in."
He encouraged people to watch for red flags that could indicate a test scam including:
- No affiliation with local medical provider or government entity (health department)
- Test sites offer “free” testing for Medicare recipients
- Exorbitant upfront fee for testing for non-Medicare patients or not taking private insurance at all
- Offering or indicating additional testing will be conducted beyond COVID 19 on patient’s sample
- Failure to utilize current CDC guidance and OSHA’s standards in interaction with patients
- Use common sense on whether these sites are true medical professionals
The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office asked anyone who has used the fake-testing sites to contact the office by calling (888) 432-9257 or completing a consumer complaint form available here.