- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2019

Scammers are giving senior citizens free DNA swab kits, saying they’re offering genetic testing as part of Medicare — but in reality they’re trying to steal personal information, the government warned Monday.

The fraudsters set up booths at seniors’ centers or even go door-to-door to find victims, the Health and Human Services’ inspector general said.

They promise the kits, saying they’re covered by Medicare, then ask the seniors to provide their personal information including details such as Social Security and Medicare beneficiary numbers.

“Scammers are offering Medicare beneficiaries cheek swabs for genetic testing to obtain their Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes,” the inspector general said.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the fraudsters can use the information they glean to bill Medicare for thousands of dollars in tests or even services that they never actually deliver.

The fraudsters may also gain access to personal genetic information.

The feds busted one such scam last year in New Jersey.

According to court documents, those scammers set up a nonprofit to encourage genetic testing. Armed with offers of free ice cream, they would entice seniors to a presentation where they would frighten them into believing they could face heart attacks, strokes or cancer without genetic testing.

The scammers would swab willing victims and, as long as the seniors were covered by Medicare, would then send the information to complicit doctors, who would order tests — paid for at taxpayers’ expense.

The government says that scam recruited hundreds of victims, and resulted in more than $1 million in bogus genetic testing.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide