By Bobeth Yates

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – COVID-19 cases continue to rise across South Florida, and this week, the state reported an additional 397,000 new cases.

To meet the increased demand, new testing sites are popping up, but so has the increase in fraud.

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“There’s always a reason to be concerned about fraud, obviously, especially right now that there’s a surge in cases and a surge in testing,” said Jeremy Redfern, with the Florida Department of Health. He said the state is increasing its oversight to protect people from criminals trying to use the pandemic as a way to cash in.

“The big thing we want people to know is that it is possible to report suspected fraud especially when it comes to anything that’s authorized by the FDA,” added Redfern.

Redfern says that includes major concerns like if a COVID testing site is authorized to operate or something small, about the process.

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“Any complaints about laboratories who are trying to do some type of fraudulent activity that can go through the agency for health care administration. If it is health care fraud that can go through the FHS and if it has anything to do with some regulated health care treatments that have to do with the FDA.

In addition, residents are encouraged to be cautious of unexpected phone calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies, offers or advertisements for testing on social media, and not purchasing at-home testing kits from street vendors.

Redfern added before going to get tested you should check to make sure the COVID-19 testing location you want to go to is legitimate, by visiting the state health department website.

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“So, we have a website, floridahealthcovid-19.gov, and it has sites that have been upload to our database from the counties that are vetted sites, they are regulated, they are legitimate health care providers, and we want to make sure are using those health care providers that are listed”.