Here’s one that goes to show just how creative scammers can be. The FTC is getting reports that callers claiming to be from Medicare are asking people for their Medicare numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal information — in exchange for DNA testing kits.
— Lisa Lake is a consumer education specialist with the Federal Trade Commission. This article originally appeared on the FTC website.
The callers might say the test is a free way to get early diagnoses for diseases like cancer, or just that it’s a free test, so why not take it? But the truth is, Medicare does not market DNA testing kits to the general public.
This is yet another government imposter scam. In this example, as in others, scammers may give what seems like a believable explanation for needing your information. But before you give anyone your personal information or a swab from your cheek, consider these tips to help you spot and avoid these kinds of scams:
- Government agencies will rarely, if ever, call you. If they do, it will be after they send you a letter – or to return a call you made to them. But anytime the “government” caller demands information (or payment by wire transfer or gift card), that’s a scam.
- Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers use technology to hide their real number, but show one that seems legit. So if the caller ID shows a 202 area code, or says “government” or “Washington, DC,” don’t take that at face value. It could be anyone calling from anywhere.
- Never give anyone who calls or approaches you out of the blue information like your Medicare, bank account, credit card or Social Security number. Scammers can use your information, steal your identity, get credit in your name and take your money.