SENIORS IN WEST ALABAMA TARGETED BY FAKE GENETIC TESTING SCAM

Senior Medicare Patrol

Reported and Written by WVUA 23 Reporter Erin McNally

Thousands of people fall victim to scams every year and right now there’s three affecting senior citizens in our area.

Anyone can fall victim to fraud, but senior citizens are often targeted by scams. Area Agency on Aging of West Alabama Resource Director Ashley Adcox said this happens because older persons are very trusting.

“Older persons are often targeted because the demographic is a large number of people,” Adcox said. “They’re very trustworthy people and sometimes they’re isolated and may not have a second person to toss off their opinion to and say hey should I be talking to this person on the phone?”

Seniors in West Alabama have reported three different scams. Two of them take place by phone. Thieves call taxpayers claiming to be IRS officials, demanding that the victim pay a fake tax bill. A similar scam from callers claiming to be social security workers has also been reported.

The most prevalent in Tuscaloosa is a genetic testing lure. Seniors in group settings like nursing homes are being targeted by companies promoting free genetic testing.

The seniors are told this is covered by Medicare and are asked for their information. However, Medicare will not pay for this testing so victims are left with huge bills and could face fraud or identity theft.

“We receive calls here all the time from people calling us and saying hey I realize that I took a phone call and they told me that if I didn’t pay the IRS or the Social Security that I would be arrested,” Adcox said. “And I’ve given them some personal information and I don’t know what to do now. And they’re really scared.”

Scammers try new tricks all the time so it is important to remind seniors that they should never feel pressured to commit to anything over the phone or in person.

Senior Medicare Patrol

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