SeniorNet at Family Service League is warning senior citizens about a fraud involving genetic testing.
The organization is circulating an alert from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General about the scheme.
Scammers are capitalizing on the popularity of genetic testing and fears of illness to persuade senior citizens to take two types of genetic screenings, screening for cancer or their risk of medication six effects, that are covered by Medicare Part B. Patients pay nothing, but risk compromising personal information and family medical history. The goal of the scammers is to obtain the victims’ Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes.
The scammers target victims through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and door-to-door visits.
The fraud appears to be increasing, with as many as 50 complaints a week have been reported to the federal inspector general’s office, according to Sheila Davis, an OIG spokeswoman.
If a beneficiary agrees to genetic testing or verifies personal or Medicare information, a testing kit is sent even if it is not ordered by a physician or medically necessary.
The agency suggests the following:
- If a genetic testing kit is mailed to you, don’t 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 and the date you returned the items.
- Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free genetic testing and then requests your Medicare number. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
- A physician that you know and trust should approve any requests for genetic testing.
- Medicare beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare numbers. If anyone other than your physician’s office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it.
- If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact the HHS OIG Hotline.
Report the Scam Online:Phone: 1-800-447-8477(1-800-HHS-TIPS)TTY: 1-800-377-4950