Beware of Scam in Swabbing Cheeks of Seniors for DNA Cancer Checks
The Consumer Protection Unit of the Alaska Attorney General’s Office warns Alaskans that a new health care scam is on the rise and may be coming to Alaska. The Division of Insurance has received reports of groups going to senior living communities, assisted living facilities, senior centers and RV/trailer parks offering to swab the cheeks of seniors for genetic material. The scammers are saying the swabs are to perform tests of DNA for cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
If a non-cancer patient provides material for genetic testing under the pretense that the test would be covered by Medicare, this may be a scam or fraud. Be alert if anyone asking to swab your cheeks requests that you agree to be billed for services in the event Medicare does not pay.
Medicare has different guidelines regarding the testing of genetic material in patients depending on whether or not they have been diagnosed with cancer. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements must be met in order for such testing to be paid for by Medicare. Disreputable, roving “testers” may be committing Medicare fraud or trying to rip you off if Medicare does not pay.
Do not give your Medicare number to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly. Theft of your Medicare number is a common form of identity theft and it may be used to commit fraud. Guard your Medicare number as you would your social security number.
If there are any questions, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit Staff at (907) 269-5208 or contact Cynthia.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consumer Protection Unit