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legit census survey
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Security & privacy

The federal government is reaching out. This time it’s not a scam!

Scammers use every trick imaginable to get you to hand over personal details or banking information. A common favorite is to impersonate a government agency or law enforcement officials. Tap or click here to learn how hackers use this trick.

With so many scams circulating, it’s understandable if you’re extra cautious. But there is a legit survey making the rounds right now that you need to know about.

Read on for everything you need to know.

U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey

The U.S. government is conducting the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) and needs your help.

Scammers constantly create schemes looking to get their hands on your private information. This is why it’s good to be careful when contacted for surveys like this. But the ACS is a legitimate survey to collect information used to make decisions about how federal funding is spent in your community.

Annually, the U.S. Census Bureau — part of the Department of Commerce — randomly selects 3.5 million households nationwide to participate in the ACS. Many federal, state, tribal, and local leaders use the answers to update their statistics. 

How to know if your survey is legit

If you got a survey and want to verify it’s legit, contact your Census Bureau regional office

Here’s what to expect if you’re selected to participate:

  • You’ll get a letter first. The Census Bureau first sends a letter saying your address was selected for the ACS. It’ll tell you how to complete the survey online.
  • Reminders will follow. If you don’t complete the survey online, a paper questionnaire will follow in about three weeks. Or you’ll get an email reminder if you gave an email address.
  • Survey participants may get a call. If you did the survey online or on paper, and the Census Bureau needs to clarify information, they might call. But no one will ever ask for your bank or credit card information. That’s a scam.
  • In-person interviewers must show ID. A Census Bureau representative may visit you at home after regular business hours, when you’ll likely be home, to complete the process in person. Interviewers must show a photo ID with the U.S. Department of Commerce seal and expiration date.

To learn more, visit the U.S. Census Bureau’s ACS page and read about Identity Theft and Online Security to help protect your personal information.

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