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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > October 2019 > Attorney General Yost Warns of Genetic Testing Scams

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Attorney General Yost Warns of Genetic Testing Scams

Recent reports indicate that scammers are targeting Medicare beneficiaries at senior centers and other community locations by claiming that Medicare fully covers a cheek swab that tests for a variety of diseases and can identify how a person’s body processes medications. 

In this scam, which has been reported in Ohio and other states, firms reportedly collect consumers’ personal information, including their Social Security and Medicare numbers, under the pretense of providing a medical screening. This scam, similar to other medical device scams, is aimed at improperly accessing older adults’ insurance benefits.

To protect yourself, be cautious if anyone conducting DNA cheek swabs requests that you agree to be billed for services in the event that Medicare does not pay.

What should Medicare recipients know about genetic testing?
  • In order for the testing to be covered by Medicare, it must be medically necessary.
  • Consumers should always confirm that their test has been ordered by their doctor, that it’s covered by their plan and that it’s medically necessary.
  • If you are interested in DNA screening, talk to your doctor and determine if it’s right for you. 
How can I protect myself from this type of scam?
  • If you or a loved one is approached by someone claiming to offer genetic testing, do not give them your personal information (like your Medicare or Social Security information).
  • Theft of Medicare card numbers may be used to commit identity theft or fraud.
  • Instead of receiving an unsolicited DNA screening from a firm that’s not affiliated with your health care provider, talk to your doctor first and determine if the test is necessary.
  • Some consumers have reported receiving DNA testing kits in the mail without requesting them. Consumers should not use these kits but should instead talk to their doctor.
If you suspect wrongdoing or if you believe you have been victimized, call the Ohio Department of Insurance’s Fraud and Enforcement Hotline at 800-686-1527 or the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program at 800-686-1578.

If you suspect a scam or an unfair business practice, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.