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Here’s one that goes to show just how creative scammers can be. The FTC is getting reports that callers claiming to be from Medicare are asking people for their Medicare numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal information…in exchange for DNA testing kits. The callers might say the test is a free way to get early diagnoses for diseases like cancer, or just that it’s a free test, so why not take it? But the truth is, Medicare does not market DNA testing kits to the general public.

This is yet another government imposter scam. In this example, as in others, scammers may give what seems like a believable explanation for needing your information. But before you give anyone your personal information or a swab from your cheek, consider these tips to help you spot and avoid these kinds of scams:

  • Government agencies will rarely, if ever, call you. If they do, it will be after they send you a letter – or to return a call you made to them. But anytime the “government” caller demands information (or payment by wire transfer or gift card), that’s a scam.
  • Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers use technology to hide their real number, but show one that seems legit. So if the caller ID shows a 202 area code, or says “government” or “Washington, DC,” don’t take that at face value. It could be anyone calling from anywhere.
  • Never give anyone who calls or approaches you out of the blue information like your Medicare, bank account, credit card or Social Security number. Scammers can use your information, steal your identity, get credit in your name and take your money.

Report government imposters and other scams to the FTC. Also, find out more about how to stop unwanted calls.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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July 19, 2019
I use the "call block" function on my phone and my ISP's anti-robocall software, but I keep getting these calls. I'd love to put these frauds (and the free brace frauds) out of business. Please help!!!
July 19, 2019
I got a call yesterday about DNA testing. The call started with a warning about cancer. Fortunately, I just hung up.
July 19, 2019
Just after I turned 65 in June, some guy in bright blue scrubs and an official looking i.d. wanted to do a swab for Cancer screening. I refused and told him to leave
July 19, 2019
We had some ladies come to our Community Center to get info and take a swab. They asked us for our driver license, medicare card, and medical card. They said that my if my insurance was on their list, Medicare could pay for it. Several people, including myself gave info. and had swabs. I gave info. but did NOT do the swab because I was not comfortable doing that. They were there a couple of Fridays. I told the Coordinator about this, and that I had read about it through AARP that it was not legal. I believe she told them not to come anymore. I also called AARP and told them about it. If you need anymore information, I will try to get it for you.
September 17, 2019

In reply to by Dbak

what was the company name of the 2 ladies. I have had the same happen to me
July 19, 2019
My Physical Therapist performed a DNA test for me like the one mentioned in this article. She used my Medicare and SSN to apply for it. However, I have never gotten any results. Is it possible this was a scam? and now my info is compromised?
georgia peach
August 16, 2019

In reply to by JimJim

Shld ONLY get any test through your primary care physician or a physician referral by primary care office. Only way to be certain of legitimacy of procedures and personnel. Or ask your insurance company for information.
July 19, 2019
We're always hearing not to trust Caller ID because it can be spoofed, but don't the carriers themselves have access to the real numbers from which all these calls originate? Would it be that hard for all of them to automatically refuse to transmit calls where the Caller ID doesn't match the actual data? For those who have a legitimate reason for masking their identifying information, i.e. physicians, public figures, domestic violence victims, etc., wouldn't it be a much simpler matter to maintain a single database of those legitimate confidential identities, rather than trying to track all the possible permutations and combinations used by scammers?
August 06, 2019

In reply to by KaseyW

I agree with you about those "local" numbers being used. I've called the number back several times and invariably it is not a working number. Big shocker right?
August 06, 2019
An older couple approached us sitting outside regarding a free Medicare paid cancer screening swab of mouth. They were making appointments for their "son" to come and do it. So I did & now am regretting it. The guy came & took a swab & said I would get results in six to eight weeks in the mail. Have not received nothing. So obviously I was scammed & that moron has my Medicare number, name, address & phone number! He was also asking nosy questions about any of our other income. I assume the older couple were being well paid to brazenly approach people with this scam. Unfortunately, I did not hear or read about this type of scam until after the fact. I hope all three of those people get caught!! So beware folks.
August 06, 2019
Got the DNA Cancer Kit by Fedex and now someone named Daniel Logen from Lab Services is calling me everyday leaving a voice mail to give me step by step instructions on how to complete it. She says to return her call to #866-345-7229, but my caller ID says Health Screening #561-234-4379. I plan to do nothing with this kit.
georgia peach
August 16, 2019
Recv'd call from "Claxton, Georgia" this AM (16 Aug '19) informing of Medicare sponsored DNA cancer screening for over fifty. Stated that w/o WOULD BE INELIGIBLE for benefits. Scare tactics! These "people" are lower than a broke knee'd turtle!!!
Stephen Barret…
August 21, 2019
Fraudsters are making BILLIONS of spoofed calls per year. Stopping one type of scam won't make much difference. We need a mechanism to stop spoofed calls and a deterrent law that can send people to prison for spoofing unwanted robocalls.
September 07, 2019
Just got a phone call which I reported to Medicare. Woman, with a heavy accent, in an obvious call center said Medicare was sending out cancer kits to everyone over 65 and needed to verify my address. Boy did I let her have it . I told her “Medicare knows everything about me they know how old I am they know my address they know who I live with they know the ages of those people also. You’re not for Medicare this is a big con and why don’t you get a real job”. Ahh, I feel good.
They tried
February 09, 2021
These calls are still happening in 2021.
Franklin's Mom
February 09, 2021
Yes - the alleged cancer screening calls are still happening in 2021. I usually get one a day. Some leave a message. Others might just be wanting to talk about my car warranty :-). I don't know - I don't answer the numbers I don't recognize.
May 04, 2021
Yeah they got me the other day. I did give them some information. A so-called doctor was trying to call me back about the test. He would leave a message for me to call him. But when he called it was from a scam number. That's when I figured it out.
BJDon't use yo…
August 20, 2021
I have been getting a call about this every day for the last couple of weeks. The caller addresses me by my first name and then I ask who's called. He or she then launches into their spiel. Today, I cut him off and said I'd be checking into his assertion that the tests were coming from and approved by Medicare, and hung up. I'm glad I checked it out. I know never to give my personal information on the phone.