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

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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.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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