Free COVID-19 Test-Kit Scams

By Crystal Baldwin and Cristina Leiva

A National Consumer Protection Week feature and second in a Two-Part Series on COVID-19 Test Kits. “National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is a time to help people understand their consumer rights and avoid frauds and scams” (FTC). 

Earlier this week, it was announced that Americans can order more free at-home COVID-19 tests from the U.S. government at This second round of tests are available for free through There are no shipping costs, and you don’t have to give a credit card or bank account number. You only need to give a name and address. Once you place an order, you’ll get an order confirmation number. If you give your email address, you’ll also get an order confirmation email and delivery updates. Anyone who asks for more information than that is a scammer.

Don’t get scammed when doing your part to get tested!

Scammers love when things are offered for free because they can quickly create a website making the same claim, while requiring personal information and payment for additional charges like “shipping/handling” or “expediting” or “priority service”. They seize the opportunity to cash in when emotions are high—which is the case when trying to stay healthy amid a global pandemic.   

COVID-19 TEST-KIT SCAM ALERT: Unsolicited requests for your health insurance information, phony offers for FREE test kits asking for payment, Peer-to-peer sellers.
COVID-19 Test-Kit Scam Alert by CAP

COVID-19 Test Kit Scams Might Look Like:

  • Unsolicited requests for your health insurance information, such as Medicare, in exchange for free test kits.
  • Phony offers of FREE test kits with payment required, such as for shipping/handling.
  • Peer-to-peer sellers: Friends, family, neighbors and others on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist and other listing sites.
  • Unreputable vendors in retail pop-up shops or online.
  • The sale of invalid COVID-19 test kits.
  • Unsolicited offers to obtain free test kits, such as through telemarketing, email, and other unverified channels.

Hang up on solicitations claiming to offer free test kits in exchange for your personal information, insurance, or money! If you are looking for free test kits, seek them out through valid sources outlined in the Consumer Assistance Program’s free COVID-19 test kits blog.

Look out for these red flags:

  • Requests to pay a fee for free tests.
  • Claims of expedited delivery with additional payment.
  • Receiving results after you sign up and pay, but before you’ve been tested.
  • Tests that are not FDA authorized.

If you have encountered a free COVID-19 test scam, report it to the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) through CAP’s online scam reporting form.  

Regarding COVID-19 updates and information, the best place in Vermont to check is the Vermont Department of Health.

Resources:, Vermont Department of Health

Rapidly Trying to Get a FREE Rapid COVID-19

By Crystal Baldwin 

First in a Two-Part Series on Free COVID-19 Test Kits 

On Christmas day, I found out I was a close contact to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. Testing sites were closed for the holidays, and I hadn’t yet purchased any rainy day rapid COVID test kits. So, I did what many of you have had to, I hunkered down and waited until I was able to schedule a PCR test.    

More than a month later now, I have been obtaining test kits from anywhere humanly possible; but not from scammers. I’ll admit, it’s been tricky figuring out not only which tests have FDA clearance, but also, how to obtain free test kits. I was dismayed when I called pharmacies and was provided the same message: No test kits in stock. I decided not to search the internet, predicting it would be a fruitless effort ripe with fake kits and hiked prices and store fronts offering freebies—which I knew to be impossible at the time—while requiring a steep payment for shipping and handling.  

At-home COVID-19 test kits

Now that the holiday demand surge has passed, there are ways to obtain free test kits. Just last week, I ordered from and I managed to be one of the lucky firsts to have an order filled by After providing my name, delivery address and email, they promised to send four test kits to my house: free of charge. And they did. The kits arrived in an Amazon smile box. While their site currently says they are out of stock, folks should check back as test kits will become available again for distribution. I submitted a request to, too. The site redirected me to the US Postal Service site,, where I merrily provided my information for my kits to be mailed to me when they are available. 

I have not yet obtained a test kit from the pharmacy. However, I am looking forward to when the stores are well-stocked so that I can purchase them as needed and submit a request for reimbursement to my health insurance provider.  

At-home tests kits are now covered by private health insurance.   

Private health insurance: Each person covered by the plan can get free COVID-19 test kits by submitting a request for reimbursement claim form—up to eight test kits per month for tests purchased since December 2021. 

  • Visit your insurance provider’s website or contact them directly for more information. For your convenience, I have included claim form links to common private health insurance providers in Vermont: 

At this time, obtaining at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits through public health insurance coverage, such as Medicare and Medicaid, is managed differently: 

Medicaid: Programs are required to cover FDA-authorized at-home COVID-19 tests purchased at the pharmacy counter with a valid prescription. Note that Vermont’s Commissioner of Health, Dr. Mark Levine issued a standing order that may be used by Vermont residents as a prescription or third-party prescription to obtain COVID-19 At-Home Antigen Test Kits (  

Medicare: While at-home antigen test kits cannot currently be purchased and reimbursed by Medicare, COVID-19 diagnostic tests ordered by an authorized health care professional and performed by a laboratory are.  

When purchasing from the pharmacy, I plan to check on availability when I happen to be in the store, rather than calling and occupying their phone line while they are short-staffed. 

I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for notices about free test kit availability from trusted sources, like the Vermont Department of Health, Community Health Centers, schools, employers and local government, while keeping in mind that free PCR testing remains an option throughout the state.  

 You Can Get Free COVID-19 Test Kits! 

February 2022: Where to get FREE COVID-19 Test Kits. Pharmacy: Private Insurance; submit reimbursemnt claim form with copy of receipt, Medicaid; With prescription, pharmacy must submit bill, Medicare; check in early spring for coverage updates. Community Health Centers/Schools/Employers: Based on eligibility and availability. Get Updates: Vermont Department of Health
Where to get FREE COVID-19 Test Kits

Eventually, there will be enough test kits to supply all the folks who want and need them. If you are ever curious about the latest updates on COVID-19 test kit availability and testing sites, check in directly with the Vermont Department of Health.  

Be well. Together, we will get through this.  

Resources: Fact Sheet: The Biden Administration to Begin Distributing At-Home, Rapid COVID-19 Tests to Americans for Free, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, HRSA Data Warehouse, Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, Vermont Department of Health