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Scammers Are Always Trying To Get You

June 25, 2019
By Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

What are your family roots? Learning the answer to this question has gone far beyond looking through old newspapers in the genealogy room at the library. Today, we can send in a swab that we have "personalized" and learn what regions of what countries our ancestors inhabited.

We're all a mixture of many places and cultures. Grandma and Grandpa were Czechoslovakian. That doesn't guarantee that my heritage is primarily Czech. In fact, one member of our family was a little disappointed when learning there was more German than Czech. Another family member flat out refuses to have personal DNA flying around "out there."

Besides learning about family heritage, another company delves into genetic predisposition to ailments and disease. With this, the trend to learn your genealogy has taken a twist.

Recently, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a fraud alert warning the public about a preventive genetic (DNA) testing scam. Iowans have reported being contacted about this testing scam.

"Scammers are promoting a so-called free genetic (or DNA) test to Iowans on Medicare. People are falsely told that Medicare will pay for a preventive genetic test to check for cancer," said Kris Gross, director of the Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol. "Iowans are being targeted in a wide variety of ways including at health fairs, door to door and through telemarketing calls."

Scammers ask for a cheek swab to send to a lab for analysis. The individual is then asked for their Medicare number to cover the costs of the test. Don't become a victim to this scam. Medicare does not cover genetic testing, except in very rare circumstances and such a test must be medically necessary and ordered by your own doctor.

"Walk away from this scam and hang up on any calls that attempt to secure your Medicare number," encouraged Gross.

Iowans can report suspected Medicare fraud, including the genetic (DNA) test scam to the Iowa Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) by calling 800-351-4664 (TTY800-735-2942) or reporting at

More information regarding current scams can be found at The Senior Medicare Patrol is a service of the state of Iowa Insurance Division.

We must always be on the alert against scammers. It seems no matter what direction we turn, the scammers are there to get the better of us. Sad - isnt'it?



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