CHICAGO – The Oregon Department of Justice and the Better Business Bureau have launched investigations into an Illinois-based company that operates COVID-19 testing sites across the country.
The Oregon Department of Justice opened a civil investigation into the Center for COVID Control this week for violations of the unfair trade practices law, spokeswoman Kristina Edmunson said.
The company operates test sites across the country – some in the form of “pop-ups” lacking inhangars and mobile storage units. Many Americans have rushed to the sites amid a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant and a nationwide shortage of tests. But dozens of people across the country have contacted USA TODAY to voice concerns about the company.
Many said they discovered the sites by searching for nearby testing options on Google and were surprised at the way the sites were run. Some said they received their test results later than promised or not at all.
At least two people filed complaints about the Center for COVID Control test sites with the Oregon Department of Justice in October, USA TODAY reported last week. Individuals have expressed concerns about the security and legitimacy of the sites, alleging that the sites offer “fake tests”. One of them said he underwent a test labeled as having expired in June 2021.
The ministry declined to provide additional information on the investigation.
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Meanwhile, BBB-Minnesota and North Dakota joined an investigation into the company initiated by BBB Chicago and Wisconsin on Monday, said Bao Vang, vice president of communications for BBB-Minnesota and North Dakota. , at USA TODAY.
“BBBs across the United States are receiving inquiries, Scam Tracker submissions, complaints and criticism regarding various Covid testing sites, including inquiries regarding the Center for COVID Control,” said the BBB spokesperson Sandra Guile.
She added, “BBB Serving Minnesota and North Dakota, BBB Serving Wisconsin and BBB Chicago have shared information and will continue to monitor complaints and reviews. “
The Center for COVID Control “recently” hired Crossnore Group, an Austin-based public relations firm, spokesman Russ Keene told USA TODAY on Monday evening. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the investigations.
Washington state has received two complaints about the Center for COVID Control, according to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. Illinois has received seven complaints about the company, according to the Illinois attorney general’s office.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul issued a consumer alert on Tuesday warning residents of “pop-up” COVID-19 testing sites. He did not specifically name the Center for COVID Control.
“It’s important for people to know that these sites are not licensed or regulated by any government agency,” Raoul said in a statement, “and they should ask questions before visiting a contextual testing site – or trying to use a state sponsored test site. “
There has been “a slight increase” in COVID-19 fraud complaints, including testing-related complaints, an official with the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday.
“We are seeing fraudulent activity around testing. It could be random pop-up sites and home test kits,” said Yvonne Gamble, the office’s acting director of communications. “Be careful. Be careful. Be careful and make sure the person you are dealing with is a licensed supplier and a place you can trust.”
The Florida attorney general released a statement on Thursday warning of new and re-emerging COVID-19 test scams. The statement cited “recent reports of suspicious COVID-19 test sites appearing in Illinois” that “appear legitimate but are designed to steal personal information from unsuspecting test seekers.”
Minneapolis resident Christina Weber, 31, said she reported a Center for COVID Control test site to local authorities and was subsequently contacted by an investigator from the Minnesota attorney general’s office, who informed her that she was not the first to report problems with the test site.
The office has not been able to confirm or deny the existence of complaints or investigations under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, said John Stiles, deputy chief of staff to Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison.
“That said, we would love to hear from anyone who has a complaint about this service (or any good or service related to COVID),” Stiles said.
The Center for COVID Control’s primary and mailing address is an address in Rolling Meadows, Illinois – a one-story commercial office building about 15 miles northwest of O’Hare International Airport.
A physicians’ clinical laboratory at the same address is registered with the FDA as an independent laboratory. A phone number listed on a website for the lab directs callers to a recorded message for the Center for COVID Control.
Have you experienced any issues with the Center for COVID Control? Contact reporter Grace Hauck at email@example.com.