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Selected for the American Community Survey?

Getting a call, letter, or a visit about the American Community Survey (ACS) — when so many scammers are trying to trick you into sharing personal information — might make you think twice. And it’s good to think twice. But the ACS is a legitimate survey to collect information used to make decisions about how federal funding is spent in your community. Want to know more? Read on.

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

If you got a survey and want to verify it’s legit, call your Census Bureau regional office. Here’s what else to expect:

  • 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 if 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 normal business hours, when it’s more likely you’ll be home, to complete the process in person. Interviewers must show a photo ID with the U.S. Department of Commerce seal and an expiration date.

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

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Cherie Aschenbrenner
March 07, 2023

There is NO WAY in anyone's right mind should they answer these invasive questions. 20 pages of them! NO WAY!!!!

Not giving
March 08, 2023

In reply to by Cherie Aschenbrenner

It says it’s voluntary but question that and tell them you won’t volunteer, you’re politely bullied into participating. When you mention this to them, they have a very polite script they give you about helping your community to “convince” you to voluntarily talk to them.

Daniel Brister
April 10, 2023

In reply to by Cherie Aschenbrenner

A lot of questions they are asking are none of their business never seen a census anything like this seems like they are getting ready to do something evil and i am not participating.

March 07, 2023

Good idea on local tax money used locally. My county and State have diff problems from other counties and states due to local events, conditions and geography. If we send money elsewhere we are not solving our own problems.

Kathleen Quinn
March 07, 2023

The only questions/comments that came up on the survey were the ones already addressed in your email. So... I'm a bit confused about the link/purpose of it.

Timothy Fortner
March 07, 2023

Thank you all for your service to our Country. God bless

March 09, 2023

I thought the Census was taken when the Pandemic started. Are they going to re-start it? I was going to work as an interviewer, but when they called we were already on lockdown. So is it back on?

Michael Jones
March 09, 2023

I worked the 2020 census as an Enumerator knocking on doors. The vast majority of people understand the importance of the census. Biggest complaint was lack of time. Regardless of race, politics, income, most folks easily grasp the concept that money and representation is at stake.

Michelle Lauck
March 15, 2023

In reply to by Michael Jones

Right. If the government doesn’t know that you and your needs/views exist, how can it represent you and provide resources?

Edward Marcus
March 09, 2023

Put this info into a leave behind piece of lit!

Ruben Dundalli
March 15, 2023

Dear webmaster, Your posts are always a great source of knowledge.

Elizabeth Adams
March 14, 2023

I keep getting e mail and letters saying I will get a survey but never get the survey. I think the good old boys don't want us to have any services here. The last letter said it should have been here 2 weeks ago.

March 15, 2023

This is an example of why I said that security needed to be improved. Real enforcement against the hackers is also needed. People are stopping cooperating; they cannot be assured they are not being scammed. This will impact general business as it did 100 years ago if this continues.

Mike Fitzgerald
March 14, 2023

Good heads up on Census Bureau ACS Program. THANKS!

March 20, 2023

The questions are invasive and they won't take no for an answer. 2 years in a row I was "randomly selected". I had to tell the lady at my door 3x that I'm not participating. Then a FedEx letter arrives telling me that I can schedule time to participate. A few days later she's back asking why I'm choosing to not participate, and tells me her boss may reach out.
That was last year, and I got notification from FedEx they just sent me another letter.

April 10, 2023

I agreed to participate & the 1st 2 visits were ok but the census worker went off the rails. In 1 day he came by and/or 15x. After that I called him, texted, & emailed telling him to cease & desist & I no longer wanted to participate then he showed up at my door. I videoed the encounter, which didn't go well & told him if he came back I was calling the cops. Next day he sent another census worker over who left 2 notes on my door, FedExed me a letter & called 3x. I had to contact the main office in Colorado & find the supervisor of this program & fill her in on the harassment. Never again! Because of my genealogy use of old census info I wanted to be good to the census bureau but didn't expect this! Beware!!

April 11, 2023

I received 2 of these letters at the same address about a week apart. Is this normal?

American Citizen
April 24, 2023

The mandatory compliance of the survey is to answer and mail back to the Census Bureau. I answered what covered basic public information. Any question that was too personally invasive was answered with “none of your business”.

The numerous notices received said the survey was mandatory by law. My gripe is none specifically listed the referenced law. Census Bureau must provide full disclosure of the mandatory in these notices, otherwise the notices gives off vides of intimidation and threats.

I did my research on the survey before fulfilling compliance with the technicality of the law. However, I registered a complaint with the offices of my US Representative and two Senators.

Justa Dude
May 01, 2023

In reply to by American Citizen

Completing the survey would have taken you less time. This operation is legitimate. Respondents can complete the survey using aliases or under complete anonymity by using "person 1, 2, 3", etc. This survey helps allocate fund to every American community and develops our National "databanks" to better generate and improve our statistics.
Be nice to the Field Reps that find a way to make it to your home.

Person 2
May 30, 2023

In reply to by Justa Dude

This is not true, the survey asks for the name and birthday of person 1,2,3 &4.

Debra McCord
May 03, 2023

If anyone comes be sure to ring bell or call have sleep disorder Avery heavy sleeper

May 16, 2023

FYI- they act like you have to answer the question or you can’t go to the next one but really if you just hit next a second time it will let you go through to the next lol

May 26, 2023

There is verbiage on the envelope that we are required to answer the questions. Not doing it. Once every 10 years is enough.

May 31, 2023

I think it’s horrible. The questions are very invasive. I don’t trust that they won’t use your information or safeguard your information so that some hacker will steal your information. They have your name, date of birth,job information, where you were born, where you live, marital status…who cares that you don’t have my bank info, with all the information that you just forced me to divulge, you can commit any illegal fraudulent act. The biggest scam artist of them all, the US Government!!!!!!!