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Beware of Genetic Testing Scam

The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking is warning District consumers to be on the alert for the Genetic Testing Scam.

Scammers target seniors and attempt to steal their Medicare numbers, DNA and other personal information. Scammers are using robocalls, ice-cream social events, booths at public events, and even health fairs to lure seniors to get “no-cost” testing.

After a swab is taken from the cheeks of victims, seniors are asked for their Medicare numbers or information from private healthcare policies. In addition to filing false claims with Medicare and private health insurers, scammers are selling the seniors’ DNA information to data brokers.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a fraud alert on June 3 warning seniors not to give away their DNA to strangers. The OIG also encouraged seniors to check their Medicare statements for charges for tests that were not ordered by a physician.

To protect yourself from the Genetic Testing Scam, be mindful of the following:

  • If a genetic testing kit is mailed to you, do not accept it unless it was ordered by your physician. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender's name, address, and the date you returned the items.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free genetic testing and then requests your Medicare or private health insurance number. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used to advance other fraud schemes.
  • A physician that you know and trust should approve any requests for genetic testing.
  • Medicare and private health insurance beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their account numbers. If anyone other than your physician's office requests your Medicare number, do not provide it.
  • If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact the OIG Hotline at 1-800-447-8477 or oig.hhs.gov/fraud/report-fraud/.

If you believe you have been a victim of a financial scam or have questions, please contact the Enforcement and Consumer Protection Division of the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking at (202) 727-8000.