Genetic Testing Alert: Here’s What You Need To Know


Scammers are targeting senior citizens by offering DNA testing in exchange for the senior citizen’s Medicare information, the Better Business Bureau and the Department of Health and Human Services warns. The scammers then use the Medicare information for fraudulent billing purposes.

“Scammers are popping up across the country, offering Medicare beneficiaries cheek swabs for genetic testing through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and door-to-door visits. They claim this is at no cost to them and attempt to obtain their Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes,” Rebecca Barr, a spokesperson for the BBB, said. “BBB has received reports of this happening in Boise and in Eastern Idaho, both at doorsteps and at senior health fairs. One report said the company started signing people up and swabbing their cheeks. They asked for Medicare and supplemental insurance information, as well as personal contact information. After entering information into a smartphone, they asked for several signatures, but without giving people a real opportunity to read what they were signing.”

The Better Business Bureau advises senior citizens and people who work with them to be suspicious of anyone who tries to acquire Medicare identification numbers or other billing information. They also advise consumers that genetic testing companies are private companies that have broad leeway in what they can do with your personal information, so never agree to test without reading the privacy policy. The BBB advises that anyone interested in genetic testing for health purposes should obtain the tests through their doctor.

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