CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — A COVID-19 testing company with hundreds of pop-up locations across the country is under investigation in several states amid allegations of fraudulent testing and unfair trade practices.
Now, Lowcountry residents who visited the site are questioning the company’s intentions.
“My concern is were they actually using real tests and what are they going to do with my personal information,” Brickyard Plantation resident Cathy Young said. “Were they primarily just trying to be reimbursed for these tests or were they selling the information online to other people?”
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Covid Control’s partner lab, Doctors Clinical Lab, has received $122 million in federal reimbursement cash through the Uninsured Relief Fund.
The personal information handed over to the company has also raised concerns. Upon arrival to the site, test-seekers are asked to scan a QR code and enter their name, date of birth, insurance information, home address, driver’s license number, a picture of photo identification, and signature.
Daniel Island resident, Tara Sahn, used the QR code to register but said she then decided to get tested elsewhere. Later that night, Sahn received an email with negative test results for a test that she never took, complete with a timestamp of when the test was taken and when it was processed.
“I was surprised,” Sahn said. “I never got tested there, so how do you have a result for me?”
Young and Sahn are just two people among hundreds across the country who have lodged complaints against the Center for Covid Control. The Illinois-based company offers free same-day rapid testing with results in less than 20 minutes, according to their website.
In recent weeks, the Oregon Department of Justice, Illinois Attorney General, and multiple other states have opened investigations into the company which received an “F” rating by the Better Business Bureau. The company has since issued a temporary pause on operations due to “unusually high patient demand” and to focus on retraining staff.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control does not have Center for Covid Control listed as an official testing location on its website and said the Clements Ferry Road site is not certified to operate in South Carolina.
DHEC also reports the department has not received test results from Center for COVID Control’s Charleston site, which has been open for five months. All cases of COVID-19 are required to be reported to DHEC.
Young and Sahn both said they are searching for answers and are eager to see the investigations into the company unfold.
“I would like to see this pursued and ensure that this can’t happen again to somebody else, that these sites are policed and that there’s more information put out there about how to ensure that a site you find is legitimate,” Young said.
The Federal Trade Commission has released tips to verify whether a COVID-19 testing site is legitimate.