SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – We have another scam to warn you about following an alert from the office of Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. Carr warns that scam artists are targeting older at-risk Georgians with a “Genetic Testing Scheme.”
The Attorney General says he wants to raise awareness because the scam is now being reported in many parts of Georiga, It involves offers of “free” genetic testing and Carr says it’s designed to exploit people’s healthcare concerns.
“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.”
The Attorney General’s Office says most of the scams are following a similar pattern:
- Consumers are receiving telemarketing calls or even having people knock on their doors to get them to participate in the so-called testing.
- Older folks are being approached at places like health fairs and even residential facilities.
- Some scam artists are even preying on the homeless by making personal visits to their tent or other temporary places of residence.
- Scammers offer to provide genetic testing and play into fears about serious diseases like cancer, dementia or heart disease.
Consumers are also usually told their insurance will pay for the testing. Some scammers are even offering individuals cash for consenting to the sample and then they 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.
Carr says con artists are definitely targeting older Georgians and telling them that Medicare or Medicaid will be billed for this service, but again the point is to get personal, financial and insurance information from that older person.
Carr’s office says it’s illegal to approach Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries and solicit business the way these scammers are doing and that some even have business cards and IDs to look legitimate but they aren’t.
You’re advised to consult with a trusted physician if you are interested in DNA testing. The scam may also involve the delivery of these test kits in the mail. The Attorney General says it’s always best to refuse any item you did not order.
Older Georgians are advised to “never” share your personal information with someone you don’t know.
Here’s advice from Carr’s office if you suspect 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 local law enforcement officials.
If you suspect Medicare Fraud:
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
- Report it online to the Office of the Inspector General.
- Call the Office of the Inspector General at 1‑800‑HHS‑TIPS (1‑800‑447‑8477).