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.
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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There is NO WAY in anyone's right mind should they answer these invasive questions. 20 pages of them! NO WAY!!!!
In reply to There is NO WAY in anyone's… 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.
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.
In reply to Good idea on local tax money… by Garush
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.
Thank you all for your service to our Country. God bless
In reply to Thank you all for your… by Timothy Fortner
Thank you for your assistance.
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?
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.
In reply to I worked the 2020 census as… 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?
Put this info into a leave behind piece of lit!
Dear ftc.gov webmaster, Your posts are always a great source of knowledge.
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.
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.
Good heads up on Census Bureau ACS Program. THANKS!
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.
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