Center for Covid Control Branded a 'Scam' as Testing Sites Under Investigation

An investigation is underway into a COVID testing company that's been flooded with negative online reviews.

The Center for Covid Control offers free same-day rapid test results at its more than 300 locations across the country, according to the company's website.

The website claims it's "partnered with a CDC approved & licensed laboratory" that it doesn't identify. It's linked to a Twitter account created in March 2021 that has just 82 followers and an Instagram account—with the handle "freecovidtest"—that has been flooded with comments calling the testing sites "fake" and "a scam."

Several customers have left reviews on the Better Business Bureau's website complaining about not receiving test results and expressing concerns that the company is scamming customers.

"Tested 3½ weeks ago, gotten no results," one reviewer posted earlier this week. Another review said it "seemed very sketchy," while another reviewer said they have "serious concerns about this company" after receiving a result with an incorrect date.

The BBB has dropped the company's rating to an "F."

A spokesperson for the BBB's office in Minnesota and North Dakota said it had joined an investigation into the company that was initiated by the BBB Chicago and Wisconsin, KSTP reported.

"First of all, they have a history of just not working with their consumers, they have a history of not answering complaints from consumers and they've been in business for less than a year," Bao Vang, the vice president of communications for the BBB in Minnesota and North Dakota, told the station.

"Anytime a consumer sees an 'F' on a rating profile, they should be alarmed. Those are red flags that should tell you, 'I am going to pause before I make any decisions or hand out credit card information, personal information, over to that company.'"

A BBB spokesperson told Newsweek: "BBB is actively monitoring the reports of COVID-19 testing sites that have recently opened in the U.S. under different names."

The spokesperson said local offices were taking information from consumers. "With the high demand for tests and recent reports from consumers about their experience with these newly opened locations, BBB recommends looking up the name of the testing site on BBB.org and reading reviews and complaints before deciding on going to the site for a test," the spokesperson added.

The Center for Covid Control has been contacted for additional comment.

The company's pop-up test sites have been popular as Americans continue to face difficulties accessing testing amid a nationwide shortage. The surge in coronavirus cases driven by the Omicron variant has also led to long lines at testing sites.

USA Today last week published an investigation into the company, reporting that people in states including Illinois, Texas, Washington, Michigan and Minnesota have experienced problems.

Concern About Test Results

Christina Weber, a 31-year-old Minneapolis resident, told the newspaper that she posted complaints on the company's social media pages after not receiving her results, which she thinks prompted an email informing her that her result was negative. But she had taken a second test at another location the same day that came back positive.

"I got upset and worried thinking they're gonna kill somebody if they keep sending out these false negatives," she said.

Lawmakers in Texas are looking into the company after KBTX reported that two of its testing sites in Brazos County hadn't shared any results with health officials.

Other state officials are warning people to be wary of illegitimate test sites that could be used to steal people's personal details.

At a news conference last week, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state was cracking down on "fly-by-night" testing sites.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), said people can find information about legitimate testing states on the department's website. There are dozens of Center for Covid Control sites in Illinois, according to the company's website, but it's not on the IDPH's list.

"There unfortunately are those who are taking advantage of these crazy times to try to scam people," Ezike said.

Florida's attorney general, Ashley Moody, has also warned Floridians to beware of COVID test scams. In a consumer alert, she cited "recent reports of suspicious COVID-19 testing sites popping up in Illinois" which "appear legitimate but are designed to steal personal information from unsuspecting test seekers."

People line up for Covid-19 testing
People line up for Covid-19 testing at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx on January 3, 2022, in New York. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Update at 1/12/22 at 5:45 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with a comment from the Better Business Bureau.