It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway), scammers are bad people. They use whatever tactics they can to try and steal money or identities from you. One popular method is by creating a sense of fear like claiming there's a warrant out for your arrest which you can avoid if you pay the fine they've made up, or pulling on your heartstrings by claiming to be collecting money for sick kids, animals, or anyone who is struggling. There are those who use a current event or recent tragedy like we've seen recently with reports of individuals claiming to be FEMA representatives in an attempt to scam money from residents of western Kentucky who are still picking up the pieces left behind from the devastating tornadoes in December. Of course, the one current event impacting everyone continues to be the COVID pandemic. As the omicron variant continues to spread its way across the country and around the world, at-home tests are getting harder and harder to find in stores and pharmacies leading people to buy them online. But, according to the Federal Trade Commission, you need to do your homework before clicking or tapping that purchase button.

The Commission issued a statement on Tuesday saying they've received reports of fake at-home tests being sold online from consumers who mistakenly purchased them. The statement doesn't specify how to know if you've purchased a fake test, but it does state the dangers of doing so. The first of which is that you've wasted your hard-earned money but more importantly, you could be positive for the virus and spread it to your loved ones despite the test giving you a negative result.

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In order to protect yourself from being scammed, the Commission says to look for those who have been authorized by the Food & Drug Administration. The agency has approved over 40 antigen and nearly 270 molecular tests. You can find the list of approved antigen tests here and the list of molecular tests here.

The FTC also recommends doing some research on the site you're purchasing the tests from by searching their name "plus words like 'scam,' 'complaint,' or 'review,'" comparing reviews from a wide variety of websites, and paying with a credit card that way you can dispute the charge if you discover you've been scammed.

It would be great if we could just trust that everyone is good, legit, and wanting to help each other out, but as we know all too well, that's not the case. Bad people with bad intentions have been around since the dawn of time, which means we have to do our due diligence to make sure the people we do put our trust in are on the up and up.

[Source: Federal Trade Commission]

KEEP READING: 21 COVID-19 Testing Sites in the Tri-State

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic: