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Unexpected Kits

Some of the DNA ancestry testing kits that showed up doorsteps this past holiday season weren't ordered by family or friends or even the recipient, but by hackers, USA Today reports.

According to USA Today, the hackers were taking advantage of a refer-a-friend program offered by the Israel-based genealogy testing company MyHeritage in which those referring a friend would receive a $10 Amazon gift card themselves, while the friend would get $10 off testing. To amass the gift cards, which are hard to trace, USA Today says hackers used stolen credit cards and personal information to order the tests and direct the gift cards to an email address they'd set up. In all, about 2,400 kits were ordered, USA Today reports.

MyHeritage tells USA Today that it noticed something was amiss just before Christmas, as it was receiving complaints about unordered tests showing up. It adds that it has terminated the refer-a-friend program, which was run by a third party, and that it has refunded purchases made under the program and cancelled the kits sent so they cannot be used.

Last year, MyHeritage experienced a data breach in which customers' email addresses and hashed passwords were exposed, though not their family tree or genetic data.