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Stealth health poll

Posted Jun 25 2008 5:09pm

While enjoying a rare moment of relaxation on Cape Cod yesterday I received a call on my cell phone. It was an automated survey about health care. The introduction said something about helping out with the health of people in my state by taking the survey. I decided to go along. The system asked me various questions, starting with age, sex, and a few other basics. I kept answering as long as it asked for information about me that can readily be found online.

I was a little surprised when the next question asked me for my income. I decided to hang up at the point.

But it made me wonder: who’s sponsoring this thing anyway? And why are they asking about income so close to the start of the poll rather than at the end where it’s typically asked.

I’m assuming there was some sort of political motive behind the phone call, but I can imagine it might also have been a form of phishing. It won’t surprise me if some of the scams that have been honed on the Internet will move into other, more basic media. After all, I get a lot more spam emails than spam phone calls, so these days the phone is a relatively uncluttered channel of communication.

In any case the link to health was interesting.

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