Buyer beware: La Crosse health officials warn people of fake at-home COVID tests

Over the last two weeks, the Wisconsin Health Department says cases of COVID-19 have increased 150%. As these cases surge, at-home tests are selling out fast and fraudulent ones are appearing online.

“Unfortunately, people are trying to make a buck and selling fake tests,” the La Crosse County Health Department’s health educator, Paula Silha, said.

The FTC is warning consumers to only buy FDA-approved tests. The FTC posted a list of approved tests to purchase on their website.

“We have to make good, good consumer health decisions and where we get our information and our tests as well,” Silha said.

The easiest way to purchase a test, according to the La Crosse County Health Department, is to buy a test from a trusted site.

“A reputable vendor to me would be one of our discount stores like a Target or a Walmart or a Walgreens,” Silha said.

The La Crosse County Health Department says people can also obtain a saliva test from the Wisconsin Department of Health website. The FTC is warning people that getting a fake test is not just a waste of money, but a false result could also put people in danger.

“And think about how we want to behave here and panic is never the answer,” Silha said.

As for those who have a test at home, be sure to use it before it expires.

“Like with any product you get, even from the grocery store, you look on the box to see when it has an expiration date,” Gundersen Health System infection preventionist, Megan Meller, said.

If you’re not feeling well and can’t get a test, the experts at Gundersen Health System say you should stay home.

“So we call that respiratory etiquette. So you know staying home if you’re not feeling well, washing your hands really well, not touching your face,” Meller said.

The FTC says if people are aware of a fake test being sold online, they can report it to

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