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Websites offer RT-PCR testing, go silent after collecting fee
Making use of the fear surrounding the pandemic, several fraudulent websites have cropped up offering doorstep RT-PCR testing, but remain incommunicado after collecting the fee in advance.
Many who were cheated in this manner have complained to the Directorate of Medical Services, which has forwarded the complaints to the cyber cell to investigate.
Despite the fall in new COVID-19 cases in the recent days, there are a large number of websites claiming to belong to laboratories offering RT-PCR tests at the customer’s doorstep.
They advertise on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but without disclosing that they are not among the labs approved by the authorities to conduct this test. According to the complaints that have reached the Directorate of Medical Services (DMS), these laboratories offer online booking and seek advance payment. DMS Director Dr S Gurunathan said these websites are also optimised the appear on top of Google search. “After the payment is made, the contact numbers turn unresponsive. Some even collect samples but do not give the reports. These complaints are also being sent to the City Cyber Police to investigate and find these people,” he said.
Health Department officials said the public should opt only the Tamil Nadu Medical Council approved labs that are listed on the Health Department website. There are 272 laboratories approved for RT-PCR test, including 203 private facilities and 69 government ones.