When it comes to unsolicited phone calls, it can be difficult to tell if you’re dealing with a scammer.
That’s why Linda reached out to VERIFY. She asked whether an unexpected call claiming to come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was a scam.
Does the CDC make unsolicited phone calls?
Yes, the CDC makes unsolicited phone calls as part of its National Immunization Surveys.
WHAT WE FOUND
The phone calls Linda received came from the CDC as part of a National Immunization Survey.
Linda shared that the calls came from the phone number 404-806-4812. On its website, the CDC lists that phone number and three others as those associated with various National Immunization Surveys.
These are the three other phone numbers on the CDC website:
The CDC explains that the survey responses help guide state and national health policies by providing information about childhood vaccinations, COVID-19 vaccine coverage and other topics. More information about the surveys is available on the CDC website.
A letter from José Romero, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, says phone numbers for the surveys are chosen at random by a computer. The National Opinion and Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, which has carried out the surveys since 2005, then contacts the random participants.
Results for child and teen surveys are released in the spring every year, NORC says, while COVID-19 and flu surveys are “continuous and reported weekly for real-time estimates.”
Participation in the survey is voluntary, and you can also decide not to answer one or more questions, Romero says in the letter.
If you have questions about any of the surveys, you can call NORC at 1-877-220-4805.
Though the CDC is making unsolicited calls as part of a legitimate immunization survey, it is always a good idea to be wary of them in general.
If you ever have questions about a call, the FTC advises you to simply hang up. You can also report the call at DoNotCall.gov.