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Beware of DNA test scams

“Free” tests could cost you and lead to ID theft
Posted at 7:03 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 22:03:38-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - There's always some sneaky new scam popping up. They play on your hopes -- and fears -- to steal your money.

Now Medicare and AARP are warning about a new scam that involves DNA.

The sales pitch can start with some ice cream---an ice cream social designed to bring people in close to hear a real deal.

Once they've got your attention they say, “How about a free DNA test?” They claim it’s free because Medicare's going to cover it. You give them a sample, turn it in but then, things go from simple, to complicated.

Complicated because without a doctor's order, Medicare will not cover a Medical DNA test. The bill---and it could be a big one---will come back to you.

Here's what could be even worse: in the name of processing your paperwork the scam artist will have collected your Medicare number and maybe your social security number---perfect for identity theft.

Maria Ramirez-Trillo of AARP-Arizona says the DNA scam has hit AARP's Fraud Watch Network.

"Always ask questions, Always check, for example, on this DNA, if they're telling you that Medicare is going to pay, I would call their one 800. Number first. "Medicare's number." Yeah. Right. Make sure you check with them first, and hear from them whether it's going to be paid or not."

But a scamster will tell you there's no time for a phone call the deal's only on for right now. That high pressure push is a very red flag. Maria says that's when you need a script in your head ready to push back.

Maria Ramirez-Trillo described a good one: "I have a lady who says, 'you know I need to think about this but I also need to have my son check up on this. He's a cop and he knows a lot about this so I run all my decisions by him.' They disappear."