Say what you will, but identity thieves are nothing if not creative.
But behind their ever-evolving scare tactics and too-good-to-be-true giveaways and opportunities hides the exact same scam: convince the victim to hand over their Social Security number and banking information.
The newest iteration of this con is making headlines across the country. It’s occurring both by phone and in person, with scammers even having the audacity to make their pitches in local seniors centers.
It’s being called the “genetic testing” or “DNA testing” scam. Similar to the medical equipment offers we discussed last year, the genetic testing scam promises seniors Medicare-covered genetic screening to identify serious health risks.
All you’d have to do is use their 100% free at-home DNA swab kit, package it up, and send it back to the agency along with your Medicare information, your personal information, your Social Security number, and your bank information.
…See where this is going?
The truth is this is nothing but fresh paint on a falling down house. Preying on seniors and their health concerns, genetic testing scammers dangle the hope of preventing life-threatening illness over their victims’ heads with no intention of doing anything but stealing their identities.
This scam is springing up nationwide. Seniors report both being contacted by phone and encountering these creeps collecting information in places seniors spend time.
If you should also run into someone making a “free” genetic testing pitch to Medicare recipients, just follow these simple rules to avoid becoming their next victim:
- As with all medication, medical equipment, and medical testing offers, you should only be discussing these things with your doctor. Should you need anything of a medical nature, your trusted physician will be the one to order it or point you in the right direction. Don’t trust anyone making you any medical offers that you or your doctor haven’t solicited.
- DO NOT give ANYONE your Social Security number, banking information, or personal information except those that absolutely need it. Especially if it is solicited by phone or by an unknown person or organization.
- Protect those around you by reporting these calls and solicitations to the appropriate agency.
If you receive one of these calls or are encountered by someone pitching a free genetic test to you, do not engage them. These people are charismatic and extremely convincing. Any attempt to argue or confront them could open a door for them to ensnare you in their scam. Hang up the phone or walk away. It’s not rude. It’s not wrong. You don’t owe any type of courtesy or conversation to someone trying to take advantage of you.