Census Bureau says American Community Survey is legit

Investigations

But agency says Census caller acted inappropriately

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, the U.S. Census Bureau has issued warnings to be aware of scammers pretending to be from the bureau.

When a letter was sent to a couple regarding a special survey from the Census Bureau, they were suspicious; wondering if they were being scammed, so they called WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare and asked him to check it for them.

WATE got in touch with the Census Bureau’s regional office in Atlanta, which said the information sent in the letter about the American Community Survey was legitimate.

However, the bureau spokesperson said the apparent tactics used by the contact person given in the letter were “inappropriate.”

Retired coal miner Danny Ivey is a master woodworker. Carolyn, his wife of 39 years, enjoys watching him work in his shop.

Earlier this year, the couple completed the 2020 census sent every 10 years. But last week, when they received this letter regarding the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, they were curious and surprised at the tone of a caller who said he was with the bureau.

“He was very rude to my husband when he was talking to him. When he called he didn’t know who he was talking to,” Carolyn Ivey said.

“I automatically called you and wanted to talk to you about it because I throughout it was a fraud,” Danny Ivey said to Dare.

Unlike the 10-year census, the American Community Survey runs every year. It is sent by the Census Bureau to random a sample of addresses in every state.

You can complete the survey online, fill out the long-form, or someone will call to help you fill it out. The Iveys said they never received the form and only got a call.

To get some answers for the couple, we called a public affairs officer for the Census Bureau and explained the issue. After checking, she said the call made to the couple came from a person working for the Census Bureau.

It was confirmed that the survey comes in the mail.

Then Danny talked with the Census Bureau officer. The spokesperson told Danny the bureau is not a law enforcement agency. She said questions in the American Community Survey are to gather statistics and not to penalize anyone.

On behalf of the Census Bureau, the Public Affairs office apologized to the Iveys. Carolyn was pleased to get some answers. They intend to complete the survey.

“We’ll be filling it out. When they send it in the mail, we’ll fill it out and send it back to them,” Danny said.

The American Community Survey is sent to about 3.5 million people every year.

For those who receive the survey, you are urged to complete it.

The Iveys were given a phone number to call to file a complaint, if they wish, against the person who allegedly threatened them with possible arrest.

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