Is it a new census form -- or a scam?

Posted at 12:39 PM, Sep 16, 2015

People across the country are receiving a strange letter in the mail that claims to be from the U.S. Census Bureau.

But some are wondering, since there's no census this year,  why are they asking you to take a survey?

Looks Official, But...

Scott Parsley opened his mail the other day, and found a very official looking notice waiting for him.

"I received a letter in the mail that said it was from the Census Bureau," he said, "and on the front of the letter it said it was required I fill it out."

That's strange, he thought, because the census is only every 10 years, 2020 being next. But he decided to go to the website listed in the letter.

"I got online, the website, and it was asking a lot of personal information, and I got a little suspicious," he said.

He  wondered: Was he being scammed?

"That was my biggest concern, with all the scams going around," he said.

What It Really Is

The good news: It's not a scam.

The bad news: Parsley is one of a million Americans chosen to test out a new online census planned for 2020, according to the government.

Up through the 2010 census form, you would need to fill it out by hand with an ink pen. But the Census Bureau has decided to get with the times, and is researching how to get its survey into the digital age.

The Bureau says it is testing out nine different versions of what will ultimately be the 2020 census.

Still concerned? Call the Census Bureau, or go to the official website, Census.gov.

That should put you, like Scott Parsley, at ease.

"I really didn't know what to expect, I didn't know what it was," he said.

The Bottom Line

Bottom line: If you receive this, you are required to fill it out to the best of your ability.

Just like with the official census, if you ignore it, you may get a knock on your door.

So do your duty, and as always don't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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