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**Consumer Alert** CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Door-to-Door Genetic Testing Scams Targeting Seniors

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis is warning Floridians of recent reports from Better Business Bureau (BBB) offices in Florida of genetic testing scams offering Medicare beneficiaries free cheek swabs for DNA or genetic testing. Reports warn that scam artists are offering free DNA testing to obtain Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and even door-to-door home visits.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “The fraud epidemic in Florida continues to grow and often targets our seniors. While DNA testing can be a legitimate service, scam artists are offering genetic testing to steal your Medicare and personal information to commit identity theft. Seniors should always consult with their primary caregiver before agreeing to any type of DNA or genetic testing. When a product or test is really 'free' you shouldn't have to provide your Medicare information.”

The BBB’s Scam Tracker, recently added to CFO Patronis’ Fraud Free Florida website, received a recent report of two gentleman dressed in “scrubs” wearing name badges knocking on doors in Pinellas County. The men claimed to be from a company that offered Medicare-covered cancer screening, a service they said was conducted by a mouth swab. The men asked for the individual’s Medicare number, secondary insurance information, social security number and a picture of their driver’s license but never provide the testing results or returned phone calls.

5 Tips to Avoid Healthcare Scams

1. Never give out personal information to solicitors. If anyone other than your personal physician's office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it. Criminals may use your Medicare number in other fraud schemes.
2. Be cautious of free lab tests at senior centers, health fairs, or in your home. Be leery of anyone stating genetic tests and cancer screening are “free” or “covered by Medicare.” When a product or test is really “free” you should not have to provide your Medicare information.
3. Always consult your doctor if you want or need DNA testing. The only DNA or genetic tests that are covered by Medicare are the ones that are medically necessary and ordered by your primary physician.
4. Monitor your Medicare Summary Notice. If you see any services, you did not receive or are billed for services that you can’t identify notify your Medicare customer service at once. You could be stuck with big bills if your insurance plan reviewed the claim and decided the test was not medically necessary.
5. Double check names and phone numbers. Scam artist can use official-sounding names or disguise their area codes to gain your trust. Medicare will never call you to confirm your personal information, Medicare number, or do personal health checkups.
Report Medicare scams immediately by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
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