Whitesburg KY

Scammers want your DNA … and Medicare number

Scammers will exploit every possible opportunity to commit fraud against seniors. This time they’re going after our DNA.

The newest fraud involves billing Medicare for special testing that our doctors haven’t asked for. As is typical, they go for our vulnerabilities. These scammers claim they have tests for Parkinson’s, cancer, dementia, hereditary cancer and more. All we have to do to guard our health is to agree to these “free” tests and submit to a cheek swab right on the spot, or they’ll send us a kit in the mail or come to our home. All they need in order to get us the results, they say, is our Medicare information.

That’s what they really want, our Medicare number, so they can submit a claim for the tests, some costing $9,000 to $11,000 each. If Medicare turns down the request for payment, you could be liable for the full amount.

Beware being approached by anyone when you’re out and about. The DNA scammers approach seniors at fairs, the farmers market, by phone, in a parking lot, at aging conferences, health fairs or even at events set up by their community or church. (One group thought they were getting free ice cream to listen to a presentation.)

If someone approaches you about these “free” DNA tests, say no. If you receive a test in the mail anyway, do not open it. Go online to oig.hhs.gov/fraud/hotline and tell them about the test. Or you can call 1-800-447-8477, which is the hotline for the Department of Health and Human Services. You also can call Medicare, your local police and the state attorney general.

Never give anyone your Medicare number or personal information unless it’s your regular doctor. Besides the phony DNA tests, you could become a victim of other kinds of fraud.

(c) 2019 King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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