ATLANTA – Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is warning the public of a scam targeting the elderly for “free” genetic testing to gain their personal and financial information.
“We are becoming increasingly concerned about this scam which is making its way throughout Georgia,” said Carr. “Unfortunately, victims taken in by this scheme are often providing sensitive personal information, including insurance and financial information, that could be misused in a number of ways. We want Georgians to be aware that we are seeing more and more of this activity, so they can spot the warning signs and share this information with friends and family members.”
How the scam works:
Consumers are approached by individuals at their homes, health fairs, residential facilities or through telemarketing calls. The more sinister con artists will even prey on the homeless by making personal visits to their tent or other temporary places of residence. The scammers offer to provide genetic testing, frequently playing into fears about serious diseases like cancer, dementia or heart disease. Consumers are also told that their insurance will pay for it. Some scammers are even offering individuals cash for consenting to the sample. They then either take a swab from inside the person’s mouth on the spot, or tell the person that a test kit will be mailed or hand delivered to them. The con artists are targeting older Georgians, informing these victims that Medicare or Medicaid will be billed for this service and that it will be “free” to them.
How to avoid falling victim to this scheme:
- It is illegal to approach Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries and solicit business the way these scammers do. Many will arm themselves with business cards and IDs to look legitimate. They are not.
- Consult with a trusted physician if you are interested in DNA testing.
- If you can, refuse delivery. If you do receive an test kit in the mail that you did not order, you have no legal obligation to return it although you might want to send a certified letter, requesting a return receipt, to inform them that they should not send you goods or merchandise that you did not order.
- Never share your personal information with someone you don’t know.
If you suspect Medicaid fraud:
- Call the Office of the Attorney General at (404) 656-5400.
- E-mail the Office of the Attorney General at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You should also consider contacting your local law enforcement office.
If you suspect Medicare fraud:
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
- Report it onlineto the Office of the Inspector General.
- Call the Office of the Inspector General at 1‑800‑HHS‑TIPS (1‑800‑447‑8477). TTY: 1‑800‑377‑4950