Why Hackers Had Thousands of DNA Tests Delivered to Random People Over the Holidays

January 17, 2019, 7:11 PM UTC

Hackers sent DNA tests to more than 2,400 people over the holidays, all as part of scam to take advantage of a promotion being run by the DNA-test company.

Over the holidays MyHeritage ran a “Refer a Friend” program, where customers who referred a friend to the service were given a $10 discount for the friend and a $10 Amazon gift card for themselves, USA Today reports.

Hackers used stolen credit cards to buy DNA kits for others and then pocketed the $10 gift card for themselves.

MyHeritage became aware of the scam when a number of people who received the kits called to complain that they had never ordered them. The company started suspecting the fraud on December 24 and stopped issuing the Amazon gift cards in conjunction with the deal on December 26. On January 1, the company terminated the program.

The majority of the stolen credit cards used in the scam were stolen from India and Brazil. When MyHeritage discovered the issue, it refunded all of the purchases that were made under the program, it also canceled all of the DNA kits that were sent out so they could not be used.

In June, MyHeritage was in the news for another unfortunate reason: the email addresses and hashed passwords of 92 million customers were found on a private server.