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Officials warn of potential scam near Metro East COVID-19 test site

“If they ask you for your social security number, driver's license number, things like that, it’s a red flag,” said Simmons.

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. — One week after expanding testing in the Metro East, local leaders are concerned one site may be drawing unwanted attention.

They’re testing for COVID-19 six days a week at St. Clair Square Mall, but the lines of cars simply aren’t letting up.

“They had a little traffic problem,” said St. Clair Co. Emergency Manager Herb Simmons. “There was an estimated 800 to 1000 vehicles trying to get in here.”

Despite the rising positivity rate, St. Clair County Emergency Manager Herb Simmons said the site has been a success based on the turnout alone. 

However, it’s also drawing some unwanted attention from potential scammers.

“They realize that the citizens get confused,” said Simmons. “They’ve got a system set up here at the state-operated site, and then someone comes up and puts up a pop-up tent, and they’re thinking, 'Is this an overflow lot? Do we go there?'”

The first tent was set up by Dillard’s under the name of Crestview Clinical Laboratory, which is a legitimate company out of California, but they aren’t authorized by IDPH to operate a test site in St. Clair County.

The paperwork the group handed out raised more than a few eyebrows.

“If they ask you for social security number, driver's license number, things like that, it’s a red flag,” said Simmons.

Monday, the same crew returned to St. Clair Square, but this time under the name ‘By the People for the People’.

They were asked to leave by Fairview Heights Police since they didn’t have permission to be on the property.

“I think if they come back, the local authorities will have something to say about it,” said Simmons.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said the state is aware of similar scams across the state and has been referring them to the Attorney General’s Office.

Simmons said he’s concerned these same people could set up shop elsewhere, so he’s issuing this warning to those who aren’t sure if they went to the right site.

“If you went through the one where they had the tent, I would definitely come back to the state site and get tested,” said Simmons.

If you're concerned a testing site in your community isn't sanctioned, you can check the state's website.