JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — A scam that involves a DNA test is hitting people on the First Coast. One man who believes he's been a victim is working to spread the word.
If you get a phone call, especially from someone who's not your doctor, about doing a DNA test, you may be getting scammed.
"It looks very legitimate," said Dennis Carpenter. "It looks like this is the real deal!"
Dennis Carpenter got a call from a woman saying she was authorized by Blue Cross Blue Shield. Then he received a box with a DNA test in the mail. He didn't question it. He's an avid genealogist and says he's done multiple DNA tests before.
"I wasn't concerned," he said. "You know, 'Okay, well this is part of the new health care we've got now.'"
But he's also an avid viewer of First Coast News's channel.
"Then that night I'm watching the news," Carpenter explained. "And I'm watching Lester Holt talking about this DNA sampling scam that's going on. 'Oh, my God, that's me!'"
Carpenter hasn't gotten a bill yet, but now he's worried. The Office of Inspector General uncovered DNA test fraud schemes in 2019 involving over $2 billion in losses.
"Usually this type of conversation happens during a consultation, they're not just going to call you out of the blue to offer you to do this type of test," said Victoria Funes with AARP Florida.
Funes says your Medicare number is like a credit card number. A phone call is a red flag. Never give out personal information.
"It is just a tactic to get a hold of your Medicare number and start billing for services that are either provided to you and not requested for your physician or not provided to you at all," Funes said. "Unfortunately, once you let go of that Medicare number, you have no control over what you're going to be billed for."
Funes says you should review your Medicare statements on a regular basis so you know what you're getting charged.
Call the AARP Fraud Watch Network at 877-908-3360 and Medicare fraud line at 800-633-4227 if you suspect you're a victim.
Read more about Medicare card scams here.