Are you looking to get information on your ancestry or curious about whether or not you’re genetically at risk for certain medical conditions? DNA test kits may be the answer to your questions. These tests explore who you’re related to, discover your ethnicity, or find out where your ancestors lived. You’re virtually a cheek swab or saliva sample away from uncovering a world of information. And you can do it all in the comfort of your home. But before you sign up with any company offering DNA test kits, it’s important to do your research to protect your privacy.
DNA test results contain sensitive information. Any sample submission contains your biological makeup and holds information about your health and heritage. It is important that you are aware of who has access to that data. Here are a few tips that may help you make an informed selection:
Compare companies. With a variety of businesses offering in-home DNA test kits, it is important to comparison shop several before making a final decision. Review their website to understand how the company uses your personal data and how it is shared. If the information is not clear or not in writing, it may be best to choose another company.
Check their reputation. You can obtain a free Reputation Report on a business by doing a search with BCA. While you’re looking at the company’s website, pull us up at www.checkbca.org to find out information on the company’s background, complaint history, or any consumer reviews.
Review account options. The online profile you set up with these services may offer settings to select how much of your personal information is made public. Check the settings and adjust them to your preference. Some things to look for include whether your profile is visible to others online and whether users can contact you through personal messages.
Hacks and security breaches. Look for information on how companies handle hacks and security breaches. Are there safeguards in place so that your personal data is not compromised should their database experience a security breach?
Opting Out. The company may share your information with other businesses for a variety of reasons. Look into options to opt out of giving other businesses access to your genetic information.
Clearing your data. Explore whether or not you have the option to have your data and sample removed from the company’s database and storage. Also inquire about the procedure to delete your account if you chose to do so.
Finding out about your ancestry and genetic makeup can be exciting and you may be eager to start your quest. However, using some caution and doing your research beforehand can help protect the sensitive information that DNA testing reveals.
About Business Consumer Alliance
Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.