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Beware of scammers seeking your personal health information

With new technology comes an excitement around speed, knowledge and increased access – often prompting people into sharing their information for a chance to try out the newest app or program.

But in this new sharing economy, we need to be mindful of what we’re giving out and who we’re giving it to.

According to a recent Bloomberg story, scammers have found ways to steal personal information using our interest in DNA testing technology.

Residents of Nebraska and Kentucky were excited when they were offered DNA tests for just $20. All that was requested in return was a swab of their cheek and their health insurance information.

At first, this seemed like an exciting opportunity. But after a closer look, many started to become suspicious.

The businesses the testers claimed to be part of said they had not been associated with the tests. Law enforcement got involved, and the Nebraska Department of Insurance shared that they “received multiple reports of groups going to senior living communities, assisted living communities and senior centers offering to swab the cheeks of seniors for genetic material purportedly for DNA checks for cancer,” and issued the warning: “this may be a scam and should be avoided.”

The warning might have come too late for some. Because the testers collected the insurance information of their “patients,” they may have used those tests to commit Medicare fraud.

Have you or a loved one ever fallen victim to a scam like this one? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.