McGraw investigates Pennsylvania research company

Drew Smith Jan. 22, 2009, 10:28am

Darrell McGraw (D)

CHARLESTON, W.V. (Legal Newsline) -- Several West Virginia residents have filed complaints with Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office after receiving two one dollar bills in the mail.

The money was accompanied by a letter from Media, Pa.-based International Communications Research (IRC) asking the residents to participate
in a telephone survey.

The letter also said the recipients would receive a telephone call from a research interviewer and that all information would be kept confidential. If the recipient completed the survey, they would receive an additional $10.00, according to the letter.

McGraw's Consumer Protection Division investigated the company and found that it is a reputable company that conducts market research and public opinion polling for organizations including ABC News, Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

No previous complaints have ever been filed with McGraw's office against the ICR and the attorney general said it appears the surveys are being conducted to gauge newspaper readership in the Charleston area.

McGraw, however, issued a warning to those who participate in the survey.

"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," the Democratic attorney general
warned. "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."

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