PENSACOLA — Several people have been calling senior service providers like SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) with the Northwest Florida Area on Aging, reporting they have had visits from someone claiming to provide genetic testing.

These "visitors" have shown up at local senior centers and individual homes. Victims are also being contacted by a phone caller requesting Medicare information prior to providing the tests.

BBB offices from across the United States have also received reports of consumers being asked to take part in free DNA testing. Consumers are told the test can detect cancer and other diseases. Consumers are asked to provide Medicare and Medicaid information so the company doing the testing can file insurance claims. 

While genetic testing is a legitimate service, it is not always covered by Medicare. Consumers should always consult with their primary caregiver before agreeing to tests not initiated directly from them. 

BBB tips on avoiding health care scams

•Do not give out your personal identifiable information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited whether it's over the phone, by email, or on social media. This includes banking and credit card information, your birthdate, Social Security number, and your health insurance number.

•Never consent to any lab tests at senior centers, health fairs, or in your home. Be suspicious of anyone claiming that genetic tests and cancer screenings are "free" or "covered by Medicare."

•If you need genetic testing, always work with your doctor. Medicare only covers genetic tests that are medically necessary and ordered by your primary physician.

•Monitor your Medicare Summary Notice to see if there are any services you did not receive (or if you were billed for services that you can’t identify)

•Research any business and its owners carefully. Check the company’s BBB Business Profile at bbb.org.

•Do not trust a name or phone number. Con artists often use official-sounding names or mask their area codes to make you trust them.

•Make sure to verify their credentials before you allow them to assist you. Just because someone is dressed like a healthcare professional, it doesn’t mean they are qualified to practice medicine.

•If you think you are a victim of this scam, be sure to take steps including: contacting Medicare and other services to protect your identity.

Share your experience to educate others at BBB.org/scamtracker.