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Medicare Recipients: Beware of Offers for “Free Genetic Testing”

The following consumer tip comes from the Iowa Identity Theft Victim Assistance Coalition.

Medicare recipients across the country are reporting receiving telemarketing calls or personal pitches at health fairs or by door-to-door sellers offering "free genetic testing." The solicitor will offer to mail you a genetic testing kit and say that all costs are covered by Medicare. All you need to do is to give them your Medicare Card number! Don't fall for it!

The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is warning Americans to beware that this is a scam. The scammers will use your Medicare number to make false Medicare claims or to otherwise commit identity theft against you.

The federal agency suggests Americans take the following steps to avoid falling victim to this scam:

• If a genetic testing kit is mailed to you, don't accept it unless it was ordered by your physician or by someone else you know and trust. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender's name and the date you returned the items.

• Be suspicious of anyone who offers you free genetic testing and then requests your Medicare number. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.

• Medicare beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare numbers. If anyone other than your physician's office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it.

For more information about all forms of identity theft, visit the website of the Iowa Identity Theft Victim Assistance Coalition: www.IowaIdTheft.org

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