Scam or not a scam? Hoosiers mistake CDC survey for scam call

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind -- Scam or not a scam? It’s a question people are starting to ask every time they answer the phone, and the correct answer isn’t always easy to find.

“People say, 'Don't answer numbers that you don’t know,' but we have doctors appointments and all kinds of stuff, so I just always answer the phone,” said Noblesville mother Lesha Creek.

Earlier this week, Creek received a call from someone claiming to be with the CDC who asked about her kids' vaccination records.

“I was like, 'Okay...' click," Creek said as she motioned to hang up the phone. "I don't know who you are, I didn't ask for this, I don't know why you’re calling.”

But that same number kept calling. In total, Creek says they called four times and left a voicemail. She never responded.

“I don't mind being a part of a survey if it's legit," Creek said. "I just don't want to be a part of something that is going to keep generating more of these spam type of calls.”

However, it turns out the calls are legitimate. They’re part of a nationwide survey on child vaccinations that the center has been doing since the 1990s.

When contacted, the CDC said they do make these calls and directed us to their website for information.

“I thought it was another scam," Creek said. "I don't trust stuff like that. You never know who you’re talking to.”

According to Tim Maniscalo, President/ CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana, more than 90% of scams are done through the phone or internet these days, often cloning real numbers.

"They can send out 100,000 of those for virtually nothing," Maniscalo said. "If they get less than 1% of the people to fall for it, they've made money.”

When in doubt, hang up and call the number back or call the organization directly. The number that appears on your caller ID might be fake, but the number you dial is the number you call.

"It's just more about doing your research and paying attention,” Creek said. "You never know if stuff like this is real or not.”

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