BBB explains recent fraud alert on genetic testing scam

Posted at 8:47 AM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 15:03:45-04

Genetic testing is rising in popularity. With a few swabs of the cheek, we are learning more than ever about our health and potential risks, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a fraud alert on a new genetic testing scam.

"Scammers are popping up across the country, offering Medicare beneficiaries cheek swabs for genetic testing through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and door-to-door visits. They claim this is at no-cost to them and attempt to obtain their Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes," said Better Business Bureau's Rebecca Barr.

Barr says this scam is happening in Idaho.

"BBB has received reports of this happening in Boise and in Eastern Idaho, both at doorsteps and at senior health fairs. One report said the company started signing people up and swabbing their cheeks. They asked for Medicare and supplemental insurance information, as well as personal contact information. After entering information into a smart phone, they asked for several signatures, but without giving people a real opportunity to read what they were signing. Then they performed a mouth swab of about 10 times on each side, and placed it in a test tube, in a plastic bag with a reference number," Barr explained.

The Better Business Bureau advises the following:

  • Be suspicious of anyone who requests your Medicare number. If anyone other than your physician's office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
  • Remember these are private companies and you need to know what they are going to do with your personal and health information.
  • Use caution when agreeing to genetic testing. A physician that you know and trust should approve any requests for genetic testing.

For more information, visit