BY WAYNE ROUSTAN
Federal authorities have issued a fraud alert about a new identity theft scheme using genetic testing to obtain a person’s Medicare or Medicaid information.
The scammers contact potential victims through telemarketing calls, health fairs and even at-home visits.
They offer beneficiaries home-testing kits to take a DNA swab for diagnosing any health problems and request Medicare numbers. Only your doctor can order such tests, officials said.
To protect yourself, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General recommends:
- Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free genetic testing and requests your Medicare number. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
- Your primary care physician is required by law to provide written orders for any genetic testing. It must be deemed medically necessary.
- Medicare beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare numbers. If anyone other than your physician’s office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it.
- If a genetic testing kit is mailed to you, don’t accept it unless it was ordered by your physician. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender’s name and the date you returned the items.
- Medicare will not contact you by phone or come to your house.
- If you suspect Medicare fraud, contact an Aging & Disability Resource Center at 954-745-9567 and ask for a SHINE SMP counselor.
You can also file a complaint directly with the Office of Inspector General online.