Agency on Aging

Genetic Testing Scams


It has come to the attention of the SMP staff that some new and nasty genetic testing scams are being offered to our Seniors. Throughout the country these scams are becoming more frequent and the scammers are using new and alarming techniques.

There has been a huge increase in the DNA (genetic) testing scam. It happens in many ways but the latest is that the Laboratories that are doing the testing are asking the Senior Centers to host these testing events for their members. Many insurance agents are being asked to be ambassadors for the testing at the local Senior Center. At a recent Health Fair there were two booths offering the genetic testing.

How the scam goes is that they offer a cheek swab to be sent out and the recipient will be made aware of any potential cancer cells lurking in their body. Of course, the folks are told that early detection will be most valuable, and that Medicare will cover the cost.

Medicare only covers the cost of 1 genetic test, and that is for screening Colon Cancer if you are at risk and it requires a stool sample. Any other diagnostic genetic testing must be done by the attending physician for treating a condition, other tests are not covered, and the MSN will say not reasonable or necessary.

Independent insurance agents are being recruited to approach the Senior Centers and are being offered a referral fee to them of $500-$600 per client swab. The common practice at the Health Fairs is that they take a picture of the beneficiary’s Medicare card with their cell phones or tablets, give the senior the kit, ask them to do the swab, and return the specimen to the agent. They have even recruited beneficiaries to encourage their friends to have this testing done and the referring friend gets a referral fee. As you can imagine this also puts the beneficiaries Medicare number in jeopardy.

This is also coming to the seniors by phone, saying it is Medicare and the new Medicare Kit is available to be sent out now that all the new Medicare numbers have been received. They ask to confirm their Medicare number, are given a phone number to call with any questions, told the kit will arrive in 7 days. When the kit doesn’t arrive and the senior calls the given phone number, the line is dead. They then realize they have been scammed!

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