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Genetic Testing Scams Targeting Utah Beneficiaries

Salt Lake City— Medicare beneficiaries are being targeted by scam companies claiming that Medicare will fully cover the costs of genetic testing and cancer screenings. Instead, these businesses may steal the identities of their victims, or end up billing them significant sums when Medicare inevitably does not cover the testing. BBBs in several states have joined with their local government and private non-profit offices to warn consumers against “free” genetic testing and cancer screening scams.

Scammers reach out through phone calls, health fair booths, stands at grocery stores or pharmacies, and door-to-door visits at senior living homes or senior centers. They might set up meetings like ice-cream socials or other events to lure in victims. The scammers offer free genetic testing and cancer screenings, taking only insurance information in return; however, these tests are not free! Genetic testing and cancer screenings need to be ordered by a primary care physician. Scammers take your private Medicare information, which can lead to identity theft or fake billing scams.

The Utah Senior Medicare Patrol and the Senior Health Insurance Information Program have released several documents to help make consumers aware of this scam. Darren Hotton, Program Director, told BBB this scam surfaced in 2015 and has gotten worse within the last year.

The Nevada Senior Medicare Patrol reached out to BBB Serving Northern Nevada and Utah, advising beneficiaries to ask their doctors if genetic testing is medically necessary for them and to turn away anyone that offers “free” or “no cost” genetic testing or cancer screening.

Medicare beneficiaries can avoid this scam by adhering to the following tips:

  • Don’t give your DNA away to strangers. Beware of anyone advertising free genetic testing and cancer screenings. Check with your doctor first!
  • Don’t give out your Medicare or Social Security numbers. 
  • Verify credentials. Make sure whoever you work with is who they say they are.
  • Verify coverage. Medicare only covers tests and procedures that are medically necessary and ordered by your doctor.
  • Look for unfamiliar charges on your Medicare Summary Notice statements. Call if you see any tests or screenings that you did not want or that weren’t ordered by your doctor.

If you have been approached by Genetic Testing scams, you should report them to Utah Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-877-808-2468 and to BBB Scam Tracker.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on nearly 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. Today, BBB serving Northern Nevada and Utah is supported by just over 4,500 Accredited Businesses that have voluntarily committed to adhere to BBB’s Standards of Trust.

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