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ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Public Health is warning people about participating in health-related telephone surveys.

Health officials have received several complaints about suspicious phone calls.

According to a press release from the department, many of the calls come from area codes outside of Georgia.

The caller asks questions about medical and surgical information after telling the recipient that they are with the "Department of Health." One person reported the caller asked to speak to her teenage daughter. In other calls, the caller asks questions about ethnicity and religion, among others, and may be trying to sell goods or services.

DPH's Office of the Inspector General is investigating the phone calls.

"Right now, we do not know the real reason for the calls or what the caller is truly looking for," said Rick Keheley, DPH's inspector general. "We do know the calls are not coming from the Georgia Department of Public Health."

DPH does occasionally use telephone surveys to gain information on health trends but officials say they will never ask for religious information, will never ask for credit card information, will never try to sell goods or services and will always provide call back or contact information for verification.

Residents with questions or those wishing to report a suspicious call should contact DPH's Office of Inspector General at (404) 656-4409 or reportdphfraud@dhr.state.ga.us.

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