DNA testing can raise your risk of identity theft. No doubt, you’re scratching your head in disbelief, asking what’s the connection? Sorry to tell you, it’s true and it’s happening right now. The Inspector General of the United States just released the warning this week.
The scam is clever and it’s working — as many people, including seniors are curious about their DNA makeup.
But, if you’re not careful, losing your identity through identity theft can cause you a heap big pile of trouble. It’s trouble with your credit cards, banks, utility companies, mortgage companies, and any other companies where you use your credit card for goods and services.
And if you are collecting Social Security and get Medicare benefits, extricating yourself from this situation will be painful, time consuming and aggravating. How did this happen?
DNA Testing: The Scam Is on
Federal officials are warning Medicare beneficiaries about scammers who offer them free genetic testing. Buyer Beware! Their real motive is to get your Medicare number or credit card information and use it to commit identity theft or other fraud.
The Centers for Medicaid Services, (CMS), in an alert sent out this Wednesday, recommends you only use a doctor that you trust, if you want to be tested.
Furthermore, if Medicare is billed for your test or screening that wasn’t medically necessary or wasn’t ordered by your doctor, your claim could be denied. That means you will be responsible for the entire cost of the test. Often, that cost can be in the thousands of dollars.
According to CMS ,these scammers are targeting Medicare recipients through telemarketing calls, health fairs, and even knocking on doors.
The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) recommends the following:
- If you receive a genetic testing kit in the mail, don’t accept it unless it was ordered by your doctor. Refuse the delivery. Keep a record of the sender’s name and the date you returned the items.
- Be suspicious of anyone who offers you “free” genetic testing and then asks for your Medicare number.
- A physician whom you know and trust should evaluate your condition and approve any requests for genetic testing.
- Medicare beneficiaries should be cautious of all unsolicited requests for their Medicare numbers. If anyone other than your doctor’s office requests your Medicare information, don’ give it.
If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact the OIG Hotline at 800-447-8477.