DNA test scam warning

by jeeg 5. January 2011 22:10

A fake DNA test kit being mailed to WA residents makes "ridiculous" claims about being able to slow the ageing process, according to the WA Consumer watchdog.

Australia Post has intercepted 200 kits, which are sent from China and contain a cotton swab in a sealed bag, but Consumer Protection Commissioner Anne Driscoll said many more were believed to have already been delivered to WA homes.

Labelling it an international scam, Ms Driscoll said the kits are accompanied by a letter that makes claims that are impossible to fulfil.

The scammers charge a $39.99 processing fee and ask for credit card details. The package also encourages recipients to give up their personal information to enter a $10,000 prize draw.

"Clearly these kits are a scam and an attempt to receive money for what is a worthless and dubious service," Ms Driscoll said.

"Even legitimate DNA testing can't determine success, affluence or love and compatibility.

We advise recipients of these kits to throw them away and not to respond to unsolicited mail. Providing personal and financial details to unknown persons is fraught with danger."

The University of Western Australia was called in to investigate the claims and Associate Professor Richard Allcock confirmed the DNA kits were fraudulent.

"They make claims about health, diet, mood etcetera and, whilst some of these may well be under genetic control, we certainly are nowhere near being able to provide that information back to individuals," Professor Allcock said.

"They then make ridiculous claims about wellbeing and youth extension. All of these claims in the letter are patently false."

The fake kits have been reported to consumer watchdogs across the country 19 times in the past week.

The scammers used the name of a legitimate DNA sample company in Canada, DNA Technologies, but Ms Driscoll said there was no connection between the two.

Katherine Fenech, WA Today


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