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How to tell if the American Community Survey is legitimate

Consumers can verify survey via phone
Posted: 4:04 PM, Aug 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-21 16:04:39-04
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INDIANAPOLIS— If you get a mailing, a phone call or a visit about a survey, it’s easy to believe it’s a scam.

The Federal Trade Commission wants consumers to know the American Community Survey is a legitimate survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Indiana consumers may receive the survey, which runs all year, every year, unlike the 10-year Census.

The survey goes to a random sample of addresses in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, according to the FTC, and state and local leaders use the information to update their statistics.

The FTC says if someone contacts you about the American Community Survey and you want to verify that the visit or phone call is legitimate, you can call your Census regional office .

Here’s how the American Community Survey works:

  • Census sends a letter saying that your address was selected for the ACS.
  • Most people then get instructions to complete the ACS online. If you don’t complete the survey, the Census will send a paper questionnaire in about two weeks.
  • If you still haven’t submitted the survey, you may get a call. You also may get a call if you completed the survey, but Census needs to clarify information.
  • If Census can’t reach you by phone, they may send someone to your address to complete the process in person. Interviewers may visit or call after normal business hours when it’s more likely you’ll be home. The Census representative must show a photo ID with the U.S. Department of Commerce seal and an expiration date. If you ask, the interviewer will give you a supervisor’s contact information and/or the Census regional office phone number for verification.

If your household has been contacted to complete the American Community Survey and you would like to verify that this survey is legitimate, you can call toll-free 1-800-354-7271.

If someone has called you about the American Community Survey and you would like to verify that the phone call is legitimate, you can call one of the telephone centers directly:

  • Jeffersonville, IN: 1-800-523-3205
  • Tucson, AZ: 1-800-642-0469