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Medicare does not give out DNA kits

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Here’s one that goes to show just how creative scammers can be. The FTC is getting reports that callers claiming to be from Medicare are asking people for their Medicare numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal information…in exchange for DNA testing kits. The callers might say the test is a free way to get early diagnoses for diseases like cancer, or just that it’s a free test, so why not take it? But the truth is, Medicare does not market DNA testing kits to the general public.

This is yet another government imposter scam. In this example, as in others, scammers may give what seems like a believable explanation for needing your information. But before you give anyone your personal information or a swab from your cheek, consider these tips to help you spot and avoid these kinds of scams:

  • Government agencies will rarely, if ever, call you. If they do, it will be after they send you a letter – or to return a call you made to them. But anytime the “government” caller demands information (or payment by wire transfer or gift card), that’s a scam.
  • Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers use technology to hide their real number, but show one that seems legit. So if the caller ID shows a 202 area code, or says “government” or “Washington, DC,” don’t take that at face value. It could be anyone calling from anywhere.
  • Never give anyone who calls or approaches you out of the blue information like your Medicare, bank account, credit card or Social Security number. Scammers can use your information, steal your identity, get credit in your name and take your money.

Report government imposters and other scams to the FTC. Also, find out more about how to stop unwanted calls.

Comments

I use the "call block" function on my phone and my ISP's anti-robocall software, but I keep getting these calls. I'd love to put these frauds (and the free brace frauds) out of business. Please help!!!

I got a call yesterday about DNA testing. The call started with a warning about cancer. Fortunately, I just hung up.

Just after I turned 65 in June, some guy in bright blue scrubs and an official looking i.d. wanted to do a swab for Cancer screening. I refused and told him to leave

We had some ladies come to our Community Center to get info and take a swab. They asked us for our driver license, medicare card, and medical card. They said that my if my insurance was on their list, Medicare could pay for it. Several people, including myself gave info. and had swabs. I gave info. but did NOT do the swab because I was not comfortable doing that. They were there a couple of Fridays. I told the Coordinator about this, and that I had read about it through AARP that it was not legal. I believe she told them not to come anymore. I also called AARP and told them about it. If you need anymore information, I will try to get it for you.

My Physical Therapist performed a DNA test for me like the one mentioned in this article. She used my Medicare and SSN to apply for it. However, I have never gotten any results. Is it possible this was a scam? and now my info is compromised?

We're always hearing not to trust Caller ID because it can be spoofed, but don't the carriers themselves have access to the real numbers from which all these calls originate? Would it be that hard for all of them to automatically refuse to transmit calls where the Caller ID doesn't match the actual data? For those who have a legitimate reason for masking their identifying information, i.e. physicians, public figures, domestic violence victims, etc., wouldn't it be a much simpler matter to maintain a single database of those legitimate confidential identities, rather than trying to track all the possible permutations and combinations used by scammers?

I agree with you about those "local" numbers being used. I've called the number back several times and invariably it is not a working number. Big shocker right?

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