RAT scams: How to avoid getting conned with rapid antigen tests

Posted: 14 January 2022 8:18 pm

Don't fall for the scam artists when you're trying to protect your health - here's what to check.

Where the public goes, the scam artists always follow.

So as Australians scramble to find rapid antigen tests, it's sadly no surprise to see dubious online sellers trying to take advantage of the demand.

For instance, Facebook listings are popping up asking people to "pay in advance" as part of a bulk RAT order.

Sadly, most of these aren't genuine.

COVID-19 panic has been quickly exploited by scammers.

Since the pandemic began, consumer regulator the ACCC has received over 6,415 COVID-related complaints, adding up to $9.8 million in losses. And that's likely a huge underestimate, since many people don't report when they get conned.

As rapid antigen tests have become key to Australia's pandemic response, purchases have soared, leading to shortages across the country.

A Finder survey in January found 45% of Australians have or are planning to purchase a rapid antigen testing kit. That's more than doubled since December.

That has also affected pricing. Finder analysis of pricing data shows the average price for a single rapid antigen test has hit $18.20 in NSW and $15 in Victoria. The government plans to introduced regulations banning excessive "price gouging".

Finder chart showing prices

With supplies on the ground very limited and stores often selling out in minutes, it makes sense to stock up online if you can, so you're covered for future needs.

The key is to make sure you're buying from a reputable store.

Where to buy rapid antigen tests online right now

  • Kogan - Order now
  • HiCraft - Order now
  • Werko - Order now
  • COVIDtestonline - Order now
  • Clinical Supplies - RAT - Out of stock
  • Little Whales - Order now
  • Rapid Antigen Australia - Order now
  • Amazon - Out of stock
  • Woolworths - Out of stock
  • Catch - Out of stock
  • Healthy Life - Out of stock
  • Chemist Warehouse - Out of stock
  • Rapid Proof - Out of stock
  • AUSTiC - Order now
  • MyDeal.com.au - Out of stock
  • Coles - Out of stock
  • Medcart - Order now

How to avoid rapid antigen test scams

  • Check the tests are approved. Only rapid antigen tests approved by and registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) can be sold in Australia. We have a detailed guide explaining which tests have been approved. Be wary of any offer that doesn't specify which tests are being sold.
  • Research the supplier. Never heard of the store? Search for the brand name and the word "scam" and see if any negative reports come up. If there's a customer support link, ask a question and see how quickly they respond.
  • Too good to be true. If the prices are super-low or the company promises immediate delivery, be very wary. Current staff shortages mean even major suppliers are experiencing delays.

Need to find a rapid antigen test? Our guide to online stores is updated every hour with current stock availability.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more.

Picture: Getty Images

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