Scammers Target Seniors For Medicare Genetic Testing Swindle
Our seniors, bless their hearts, get targeted for every scam that comes down the pike, particularly when it involves something digitally related, the security of their savings, or the Holy Grail: Medicare.
Preying on the notion that many of us want to know where we came from or want our DNA information for medical purposes, criminals have designed a scam that hits seniors on these points. In some cases, the scam is pulled off so slickly and smoothly, you can be taken in as easily as a stop in the local health fair "free diagnostic booth" at the community center.
For most of us, the forty-nine or so dollars to get a basic test is a pittance, even the more expensive and comprehensive tests are typically under two-hundred dollars. But for some seniors, those sums on their inflexible fixed monthly incomes are out of the question either as a curiosity or medical necessity.
The US Department of Health and Human Services is working to inform the public about a fraud scam involving DNA testing. It'd be a good idea to share this article socially and with your relatives.
The fraud occurs when Medicare is billed for tests or screenings not medically necessary (NMN) or that were not ordered by the Medicare beneficiary's treating physician of record.
Using telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and door-to-door visits, they offer so-called free screenings or cheek swabs. The information isn't paid for by Medicare and it doesn't go to them. The information goes directly to the scammer to steal or sell your identity and other fraudulent schemes.
What's even more reprehensible is some scammers even mail out authoritative and official-looking packages to potential victims with a cheek swab or spit vessel.
HHS says some scammers actually do process the tests through a medical facility for the appearance of legitimacy, but if the claim is denied by Medicare, you're on the hook for the full cost of the test. The bill will arrive in your mailbox, and the scammers will still have your information.
How to Defend Yourself
Medicare beneficiaries should be automatically cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare numbers. If anyone other than your doctor's office requests it, do not give it out.
Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free genetic testing and then asks for your Medicare number. If they get your personal information, it can be used in a variety of Medicare-related fraud schemes. While you might not be held personally responsible once the fraud is discovered, straightening out the damage to your personal account with the government could be a long-term nightmare of red tape and longwinded phone calls.
Only your physician should order genetic testing related to your immediate medical diagnosis and treatment planning.
If you receive a genetic testing kit in the mail, do not accept it unless it was ordered by your doctor. Refuse delivery or return it to the sender, keep a record of the sender's name, and the date you returned the items. A photo of the box should suffice.
Simply remember Medicare only pays for DNA tests ordered by your doctor. Period.
If you suspect or know of Medicare fraud, or think you've been victimized, start with the Medicare Fraud Hotline at 1-800-447-8477 or file a complaint online here.
As usual, if something is free, there are strings attached. If something is too good to be true, it is usually false. Keep your eyes open.
Read more directly from the source here.