IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Learning more about yourself through genetic testing is a popular thing in our day. With so many DNA testing companies out there, learning about your families past and cultural roots is easier than ever.
"So many people are so interested in their DNA makeup, their genetic testing, genetic history, to find more about their health issues and so it's very appealing to many people," said Better Business Bureau's Jeremy Johnson.
Much good can come from a few simple swabs of the cheek, but it's something you should participate in with caution.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a fraud alert on a new genetic testing scam that involves private companies offering Medicare beneficiaries a 'free' genetic test.
"One example of what we're seeing is at senior health fairs or people showing up at peoples' door and saying 'hey we'd like to offer this to you, it's totally free, all you have to do is give us your Medicare information, and we'll put it in, and they usually have a smartphone, and they put all of that information in, and then, unfortunately, they say 'read it over', well, it's on a little smartphone and people are signing things that they're maybe not able to read," said Johnson.
These companies when not only have the participants DNA sample but also their Medicare information.
Then, the companies are fraudulently billing Medicare, overcharging for the test.
"You have a private company and you're letting them swab your cheek and take your DNA, as well as you're giving them your Medicare information and private information and you don't exactly know what they're going to do with that."
The best thing to do if you are interested in doing DNA testing is to consult your doctor.
"Because I am a Medicare recipient how can I use my Medicare benefits to get this, and let a trusted physician give you that information."