DNA package sent to elderly woman aimed at stealing her identity.
By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.
HART – Lt. Shane Hasty of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a unique fraud complaint in which a DNA collection package was sent to an elderly Hart woman with the intention of stealing her identity.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of it,” Hasty said. Shortly after receiving the package that was postmarked from Boca Raton, Florida, the woman received phone calls from Albany, New York, instructing her to send the DNA samples.
“They want her to submit her DNA to them,” he said. The package was sent from Steven Goldberg of Real Time Physicians.
“After doing some research, I don’t believe Steven Goldberg or Real Time Physicians to be a valid business or DNA collection research business,” he said. “I believe this is designed to be a form of identity theft of a different means. I believe criminals are attempting to submit falsely collected DNA samples from unsuspecting older citizens and then re-packaging the DNA as their own and then submitting those swabs to such programs as ancestry.com, familytreedna.com, 23andme.com, myheritage.com, etc. I believe criminals are doing this in an attempt to avoid detection.
Police departments and crime labs across the nation have been able to utilize the databases from those ancestry sites in an attempt to solve cold cases, he said.
“There have been recent success stories in the news regarding this. DNA is collected from any person who has been charged with a felony. That DNA is submitted to the national database called CODIS. If a serial rapist has never been arrested, that DNA will not be on file in CODIS. So, he may then take someone else’s DNA, obtained fraudulently from these packages, and submit it as his own, which would still cause him to go undetected, as it was not his DNA that was submitted,” Hasty said.
“Should you receive one of these DNA collection kits through the mail or FedEx, UPS, etc., and did not request it, do not complete it or send it in.”
If anyone receives one of these packages, they should notify the sheriff’s office at 231-873-2121.
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