As genetic testing in the US has expanded, so too has genetic testing fraud, Reuters reports.
In 2018, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services received a complaint or two a week regarding genetic testing fraud, but Reuters reports the office now receives about 50 complaints a week. It adds that there are more than 300 federal investigations looking into genetic testing fraud.
As Reuters notes, marketers of these scams largely target seniors and often prey on their worries about whether they or their family members may be at risk of developing cancer. After providing their Medicare number, other personal information, and a cheek swab, a doctor signs off on the test and it is sent off to a lab that then seeks Medicare payments. Seniors targeted by this tell Reuters that if they even ever received results, they are largely meaningless.
CBS This Morning reported earlier this month that the Medicare accounts of Ken and Judy Johnson were charged more than $8,300 and $10,000, despite never receiving testing results.
Other testing schemes have been reported that target the homeless.
Some of the companies at the center of complaints tell Reuters that they have not been informed of them, that they provide valuable services, or declined to comment.