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Free COVID test scam targeting Medicare beneficiaries

Scammers have been targeting Medicare recipients with a fake offer to get “free COVID tests.” They’re calling and running websites, online and television ads to try to convince people to give their Medicare information. But if you give them your information, they’ll bill fraudulent charges to Medicare.

We’re hearing about many Medicare recipients who signed up for these free COVID tests and never got them. And what makes matters worse is that scammers could also bill for other products and services people didn’t need — and didn’t get.

If you or someone you know is covered by Medicare, here’s how to avoid these scams:

  • During the COVID-19 public health emergency Medicare does in fact cover 8 free COVID-19 tests a month, but no one from Medicare will call you with an offer. If someone calls and says they’re from Medicare and offers you a “free COVID test,” hang up right away.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can get their free tests at participating pharmacies. Find a partial list here.
  • Never give your Medicare or other personal information over the phone to anyone who calls out of the blue, asking for it.
  • Fraudulent charges may affect your Medicare coverage. Although the money doesn’t come directly out of your pocket, you may not be able to get medical equipment you need. Check your Medicare Summary Notice to be sure you (and Medicare) are only being charged for services you really got.
  • Find out more about Medicare fraud by visiting or calling 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). Also, read the FTC’s article on medical identity theft.

Spot this or a similar Medicare scam? Report at or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Updated September 2, 2022 to remove references to the federal government’s free COVID-19 test kit program, which was suspended on September 2, 2022.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Gwen M Beck
August 23, 2022

A friend told me Medicare would provide someone to trim my toe nails. I can't afford a pedicure and have a very difficult time trying to trim the nails by myself.

August 24, 2022

Perfect timing. Was having difficulty setting up appt. for testing. Seemed too much info being asked so worked with a real person to get test
Also, today received 2 emails, one directed to Sofii and another in a foreign language. Deleted both without opening.
Thank you for watching out for my generation and generations coming behind we older ones.

Darlene Schafer
September 02, 2022

Thank you for this timely info to help protect older people from scams. I saw some TV commercials for tests and was questioning them as they were not government sponsored ones.

Patty Kreitmeyer
October 18, 2022

A place called medical testing direct said they were going to send me eight free covid test I wonder if they are also a scam. I got an email from them saying they're preparing to send them soon.

Mark Ewert
November 07, 2022

In reply to by Patty Kreitmeyer

I as well ordered them today from the same Co. after thinking about it I realized giving out my Medicare number was not a good idea. I immediately called Medicare and made them aware. They told me to just keep an eye on My Medicare bills and make sure they are legit. I just hope this Co is legit and I get my free tests.

November 07, 2022

In reply to by Patty Kreitmeyer

Patty, I am still waiting for mine from MTD what appears to be a legitimate company although under many "hats" . Wild Labs, Wild Health, etc. I called a month ago after I ordered them and realized I may have made a big mistake. I did speak to somebody and she seemed very uneducated about the company. She did say I would receive them in 2 to 3 weeks. It has been five. Although the email I received probably the same as yours set up to 45 days, I have gone ahead and written them several emails inquiring as to when I can expect my tests kits. I have called the FTC and I did make a report. I also emailed MTD and said I do not want any further charges made to Medicare on my behalf. They made a claim for $96 and were paid over 3 weeks ago.
So I remain skeptical. So far no kids received. I will wait and see if they answer my emails and what happens this week. I will update the fraud report if I don't receive them by 45 days.. that will be in another week.

Lawrence (Larr…
November 07, 2022

In reply to by Patty Kreitmeyer

I did the same just now. Have you ever heard back from them again?

Thomas Albright
November 07, 2022

In reply to by Patty Kreitmeyer

I did the same with this company. Haven’t gotten the promised email. I hope we haven’t been scammed.

October 18, 2022

Fewer people would fall for this if they could actually get their covered tests by mail legitimately. Commercial pharmacies allow commerical insurance to order covered tests by mail but Medicare recipients have to go in person. For those who can't drive or are high risk for covid this becomes a hardship. I have not gotten my 8 tests every month because I just can't get to a participating pharmacy. Medicare part D recipients can get other meds by mail. Why not these?

Anna Kacsmar
October 18, 2022

I signed up for this ,what do I do mow ??

Danielle Blaisdell
November 07, 2022

In reply to by Anna Kacsmar

I fell for this can’t believe I did. What do I do now to cover myself

Delfina Aviles
November 07, 2022

In reply to by Anna Kacsmar

Signed up due to television ad claiming it’s from Medicare. They now have my info. How can I correct this

October 18, 2022

Too late for me and one of my friends. I'm sending notice to my friends with a link to this page.

Karla H.
October 18, 2022

I had someone call about these tests and I happened to be at a low point, but didnt give them my card number....but blew it on my address. I'll be checking statements.

T Coombs
November 07, 2022

What do you do if you fell for the Covid test scam

Lavada Kay Brasher
October 28, 2022

I signed up for the 8 free covid tests online with Medical Testing Direct. I just read hear it's a fraud. What do I do?

Vernetta Rowland
November 07, 2022

In reply to by Lavada Kay Brasher

I signed up and want to stop this also what can I do

October 28, 2022

I just unknowingly filled out entire form even medicare number!!! To ad(I guess) about sending 8 raid COVID test. Idk what to do to fix it or get info back!!!

FTC Staff
October 28, 2022

In reply to by Ginger

Watch for signs that a thief is using your Medicare number for identity theft. Here are some signs that a thief is using your medical information:
1. Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
2. Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
3. A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
Read about other signs of identity theft in this FTC article:

November 07, 2022

I fell for this too. Got a bunch of expired kits in the mail. Now see a bill that I might owe 65.00. Terrible that scammers (pharmacies) are doing this. Medicare should go after them!

Jill dixson
November 07, 2022

I saw a commercial on TV from something Medicare doing the 8 tests and to call a,number didn't know if it was legit or not ? I hope it wasn't a scam