Pushy individuals are knocking on doors in the county in what is possibly a scam, according to Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman.
Last Friday, on March 24, the Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from a resident on Carson Chapel Road in northeastern Alexander County, said Bowman. He noted that a white female came to the door and was very pushy, stating she was with RTI International and doing “a governmental survey.” The suspect drove a red car.
An earlier instance took place on January 16, 2017, in Basin Creek area off Teague Town Road. That suspect drove a gold color Ford Explorer.
In both instances residents were asked very personal questions, such as Social Security numbers and if they lived alone.
“If these individuals do not check in with our Communications office or the Sheriff’s Office, they are probably not legitimate,” Bowman warned.
Anyone who sees these individuals may report them to the Sheriff’s Office by calling 828-632-2911.
Clarification on RTI International
(updated April 5, 4:32 p.m.)
A company individual has reached out to The Times regarding our article about a possible door-to-door scam with persons claiming to be from RTI International.
The following statement came from Lisa Bistreich-Wolfe, Media Relations Manager, RTI International:
“It is not a scam. It’s important government funded research, conducted by RTI International,” Bistreich-Wolfe wrote in an email to The Times.
“RTI (also called Research Triangle Institute) is conducting a study called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) that seeks to examine the use and non-use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs as well as attitudes and knowledge about drugs and other mental health issues. RTI is a non-profit research organization located in the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. RTI is under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct the NSDUH. NSDUH is authorized by Section 505 of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 290aa4) and is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“A limited number of households are randomly selected to participate in this survey to represent the population of the United States, and we make every effort to provide selected households the opportunity to participate. Each residence is sent an advance letter to indicate their household was selected for the study and that a professional field interviewer, with a photo ID badge, will be visiting the household sometime during the next few weeks.
“Our study involves two parts. The first part, which we call a ‘screening,’ usually takes only a few minutes. During this screening, the interviewer asks a few brief questions about the people in the household using a hand-held computer. This screening process is used to determine if anyone in the household will be selected to take part in a full, hour-long interview. Those selected and who choose to take part in the full interview sit down with the interviewer and enter responses directly into a laptop computer. At the end of the interview, each respondent receives a cash payment of $30 as a token of appreciation for participating.
“Please rest assured that the NSDUH does not ask for personally identifying information such as Social Security numbers. Furthermore, by Federal law, all information provided by respondents is kept confidential and used only for statistical purposes. While participation in the NSDUH is valuable, it is completely voluntary and we respect each individual’s right to refuse to participate,” Bistreich-Wolfe stated.
“The NSDUH project is sponsored by an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OMB No. 0930-0110). Additional information about the NSDUH can be accessed on the Internet at http://nsduhweb.rti.org, http://www.samhsa.gov, and http://www.rti.org,” Bistreich-Wolfe concluded.