How to tell if your US Census form is real

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:
Portion of a U.S. Census letter. (Credit: WINK News)
Portion of a U.S. Census letter. (Credit: WINK News)

A form, resembling the United States Census came in the mail for one viewer. She was concerned she got a fake and is part of a scam of some kind.

“When I looked at the envelope,” Julia Thomas said, “I thought, ‘Oh, that doesn’t make any sense.'”

Thomas knows the U.S. Census is every 10-years. When she received a letter about the 2019 census test, she asked other people if they also received it.

“No one had,” Thomas said. “So I was like, ‘Okay, I’m just the lucky person I guess.'”

After reaching out to the U.S. Census Bureau to find out if the test was real, it provided the following statement in part:

The Census Bureau mailed out letters … to measure self-response rates and possible operational impacts of a citizenship question being included on the 2020 census.

“I didn’t want to give that information online,” Thomas said, “because you worry so much about privacy and what are they going to do with it, where’s it going to go?”

In the same statement, the Bureau said, “those who receive the survey will be able to respond online, by phone, or by mail.”

The Census Bureau also told WINK News, “The test will help fine-tune the planning for the 2020 census nonresponse follow-up operation.”

“On the envelope, it says you’re required by law to answer this,” Thomas said. “I was like, ‘okay, I will if I really know it’s legitimate.'”

A legitimate survey will never ask people for their full social security numbers, bank account numbers or passwords. If you receive a test and have concerns, you can visit the U.S. Census Bureau website.

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