‘Door-to-door swab scam’ reported in Vancouver

Clark County

Similar incidents reported in multiple states over past few months

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Wendy Gooderham was at her Vancouver home in the Bryant Village Apartments Wednesday afternoon when a man wearing blue scrubs knocked on her door.

“I thought that was odd. Why was he wearing scrubs knocking on my door? I didn’t hear an ambulance or anything,” she told KOIN 6 News. “I asked him what he wanted and he said he was with a company, I don’t recall the company, he was talking quickly. He talked about he wanted to do a screening for cancer, it wasn’t a normal test my doctor would run. I told him I’m up on all my shots and everything.”

The man, she said, explained this was not a test they would normally do at the doctor’s office but they were willing to do it — “he wanted to swab my mouth to look for cancer” — and they would contact Molina or Apple healthcare.

A ‘No Soliciting’ sign on a home in Vancouver, July 12, 2019 (KOIN)

“I told him I wasn’t interested and, in fact, I had a ‘No soliciting’ sign. And he remarked, ‘Well, I’m not trying to sell you anything.'”

Gooderham said she noticed a woman also walking around the neighborhood wearing scrubs. The man left her place quickly and went to her neighbors, “but I don’t believe anyone here let him in.”

Both of them were in their 30s, she said.

Shirin Triglia of Vancouver was approached by a man in a likely medical scam. She told him to leave, July 12, 2019 (KOIN)

Another neighbor in the same complex, Shirin Triglia, told KOIN 6 News the man came by first and then the woman.

“They asked if I have cancer in my family, which I do,” she said. “I just looked at them and I was, like, ‘Doctors don’t make house calls,’ this is what I’m thinking.”

Triglia said they were “very slick, very smooth.” They said they “were basically working for Molina and Apple Healthcare” but she said it didn’t make sense.

“They talked a smooth game. They knew what they were talking about.”

Wendy Gooderham of Vancouver was approached by a man in a likely medical scam to steal identities, July 12, 2019 (KOIN)

Gooderham said her mom’s online group in Vancouver talked about other people experiencing similar things.

She also said she saw the Wednesday post from the Scappoose Police Department on their Facebook page describing a similar situation:

“The Scappoose Police Department has investigated the report of a current scam in the area of a subject stating they are from a company called Integrity Health, and they are offering a free genetic cancer screening. The subject then asks for a DNA cheek swab, photo of your ID, insurance card and asks about your current medication. The subjects then use your information to bill your insurance company. We have reports of this happening in the Scappoose and St. Helens area. Please use caution when giving out personal information. If you feel you are a victim of this scam, please call non-emergency 503-397-1521, or in the case of an emergency do not hesitate to call 911.”

“I thought, wow, I’m glad I didn’t let them in,” she said. “But he wasn’t going to get into my house anyway becasue it was just all sketchy.”

The man in scrubs did tell her he would need a copy of her ID but “he didn’t have any way to take a copy of my ID. I don’t know if he planned to write it or take a picture on his phone.”

In May, Nevada’s Attorney General Aaron Ford issued a statement for residents there to beware of a “door-to-door DNA swabbing scam.” A month before that, AARP said this “free DNA testing (is) used to scam Medicare recipients.”

Nebraska’s attorney general issued a similar warning that this suspected scam appears to be designed to steal the residents’ insurance and personal information to potentially receive reimbursement for services that are not medically necessary.

KOIN 6 News reached out to the Oregon Attorney General’s office for comment but has not yet heard back.

A spokesperson for Washington State Attorney General Bob Lee told KOIN 6 News they have not been able to confirm if they’ve received specific complaints on this scam. But people who think they may be the victim of a scam can file a complaint with the Washington Attorney General online.

“He really did not identify himself good enough for me to feel comfortable, but it just all seemed like it wasn’t OK, that something was off,” Gooderham said. “I just encourage you not to share any of that personal information at all.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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