Source: OkayPlayer / People are giving DNA samples to a guy in a white van for $20.
According to Wave 3 News, people claiming to be employees of healthcare providers Passport Health and Freedom Health have been appearing in areas of west Louisville like Portland and Russell, and even homeless camps around Kentucky, to get participants to swab the inside of their cheeks to get samples of their DNA. Some participants were told the samples were a test for cancer.
In exchange for their sample, the participant gets $20.
“When you do your homework on it, you come to a dead end,” David, one of the participants, said. David also told Wave 3 that the van came to his street for at least two days in a row.
“They said, ‘Swab 10 times on each side,’” Martha Mask, another participant, said. “At the time, I was at my downlow and I needed that change.”
“The people told me they had contracts with Passport,” Mask added. “Well, they didn’t have any Passport papers or nothing on the table.”
Wave 3 contacted a spokesperson for Passport, who said the organization is not related to the group. News producers also spoke with another group of people in March who identified themselves as employees with Freedom Wave. Those alleged employees gave David a number to confirm their claim but when news producers called the number there was no answer.
“They’re taking DNA, then you disappear, and we can’t find you…something is wrong with that,” District 4 Rep. Barbara Sexton Smith said.
Wave 3 also spoke with University of Louisville Analytical Chemistry Professor Dr. Aleeta Powe, who said swabs can only check for genes that may be connected to certain cancers.
“At the moment, you can’t test for cancer using mouth swabs, but there are tests in development,” Powe said.
WAVE 3 News is still working to find out exactly why the group is paying people for their DNA.