Help seniors affected by the California wildfires! Donate now and your gift will be matched up to a total of $500,000.
by Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin, April 9, 2010
Q. Soon after completing the 10-question U.S. Census form, I got a longer Census survey seeking additional personal information. What is this?
A. It’s 69 more questions. Having sent the much-publicized “short” Census form to theoretically every American household, the U.S. Census Bureau is also mailing a form called the American Community Survey to about 3 million households, a bit more than 2 percent of the total. It seeks details on such things as income, employment, and even work commute.
If you receive the short and long forms, you are required by law to complete both.
And although it’s now the start of a new decade and therefore time for the main national Census, you may receive other surveys bearing the Census Bureau name. Some may be scams, however, sent by people seeking personal information about you. Before completing them, you can authenticate their legitimacy by calling your regional Census office or visiting the Census Web page for survey participants. For information about the American Community Survey in particular, you can call 1-800-354-7271 or visit the official website.
Neither the long form nor the short form will ask for your Social Security number or numbers to your bank account or credit card. So you can figure there’s a scam going on if that information is being sought. And the Census Bureau will not send you unsolicited e-mails.
Also, don’t fall for any survey or at-home visit in which you’re asked for money–including the so-called “Census of Senior Citizens” that seeks a $25 donation for responding to questions about Medicare and tax laws. The Federal Trade Commission has more information on a Web page for avoiding Census-related scams.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about health and consumer issues.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save 20% on purchases or $20 when they spend $79.99 or more.
Exclusive program for members from The Hartford.
Get tips and resources to protect yourself from fraud and see the latest scam alerts in your state.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at