CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw is cautioning the state's citizens to be careful about revealing personal information after receiving a number of phone calls from concerned citizens.
Numerous West Virginians have called McGraw's office, concerned about mail correspondence they received that contained two $1 bills.
The mail asks the recipient to participate in a telephone survey and is from International Communications Research in Media, Pa., according to a news release.
The letter states that its recipient will be receiving a phone call from a research interviewer who is conducting a survey. If the survey is completed, the West Virginian will receive $10. No personal information will be requested in the survey.
Still, McGraw's office decided to launch an investigation into the letters. It found that International Communications Research began business operations in May of 1983 and registered as a corporation in Pennsylvania in 1995. It appears the survey is being conducted to gauge Charleston-area newspaper readership.
"According to the ICR Web site (www.icrsurvey.com), nationally known organizations such as ABC News, Kaiser Family Foundations, and the Harvard School of Public Health have used ICR to conduct market research and public opinion polling," the release states.
There have been no complaints filed against ICR, according to the complaint.
However, McGraw still is warning people to be careful.
"I caution all who choose to participate in a survey not to disclose any personal information that can be used to steal someone's identity or to compromise a bank account," McGraw said. "Do not disclose your exact date of birth, any portion of your social security number, or any information related to your bank account or your financial institutions."