You’ve probably noticed a lot of commercials recently on TV and the Internet advertising home genetic testing services. However, senior citizens are being alerted to a scam that is going around regarding genetic testing.
Scammers, many of whom claim to work with Medicare, are approaching senior citizens and asking for a DNA swab from the inside of their cheek as part of their medical profile. These individuals do not work for any government or health care agency and are often using these swabs of genetic material to commit identity theft and Medicare fraud.
Seniors beware of those claiming to work with Medicare asking for DNA samples
The scam typically works like this: The senior citizen is either approached at their home or lured in with advertising online, sometimes promising specials such as food and gift cards. They are told that they can take a genetic screening to determine if they are genetically susceptible to terminal illnesses. If the senior agrees to the test, the scammer will take a swab and promise that they will get the results back as soon as possible.
How the Medicare DNA scam works
However, the scammer then takes that DNA and uses it to bill Medicare Part B for the test. Once the test is run, the scammers are paid for the cost of the test and the patient never gets any results. The con artists are getting paid an average of $6,000 to $9,000 per test and some of them can net as much as $25,000.
Senior citizens who do not agree to the testing may find themselves harassed and the victim of emotional manipulation. The scammers will claim that if they don’t allow for the testing, they could die from one of dozens of diseases and side effects supposedly revealed by these tests.
For years, senior citizens have been warned about holding fast to their personal information such as social security numbers. But now they should also hold fast to their DNA to make sure that con artists don’t bilk them and the government.