News release: MDH offers tips on avoiding survey scams

MDH offers tips on avoiding survey scams

Phone surveys are vital tools for public health organizations like the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) because they help track the challenges and needs of communities. In rare cases, scam artists may call people and try to trick them into thinking they are responding to a legitimate survey to get them to share private information.

After receiving several reports from concerned citizens about potentially fraudulent calls, MDH is reminding Minnesotans they can protect themselves by keeping the following in mind when contacted for a survey or other public health issue:

  • Legitimate callers should be able to provide specific, verifiable contact information. MDH phone surveys typically are conducted by MDH staff or by an authorized contractor. Such callers can provide specific contact information upon request.
  • Legitimate public health calls never ask for social security numbers, bank or credit card account information. Public health surveys collect information about health habits and patterns. Legitimate callers do not ask for social security numbers, bank account information or credit card numbers.
  • When in doubt, call or email us. MDH has a phone line and email address to field any questions you might have about the legitimacy of any survey call or other contact. The phone number is 651-201-4989, and the email is

As a reminder, anyone who believes they have been the victim of an identity theft should contact their local police department.

MDH's most common phone survey is the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. MDH works with the survey company Abt SRBI to do the survey. The phone call you receive should be coming from either 651-201-4982 or the toll-free number 877-551-6138. You can also ask for a supervisor who will identify themselves as being from the company Abt SRBI.

If neither of these items are true, please contact MDH Communications at 651-201-4989 so we can investigate. Please keep in mind that MDH runs various surveys throughout the year and the above information only applies to the BRFSS survey.

More information about the BRFSS survey is available online at Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Frequently Asked Questions.