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Census or scam? Letters asking for personal information showing up at Utah homes

Census or scam? Letters asking for personal information showing up at Utah homes (Photo: KUTV)

When Vaughn Gardiner got a letter in the mail asking him to go to a website and submit all sorts of personal information, he assumed it was a scam.

The letter claims to be from the U.S. Census Bureau, but Vaughn says, that doesn't add up.

“I always thought that the census came at the beginning of each decade," he said.

Get Gephardt contacted the U.S. Census Bureau which told us, actually, the letter really is from them. Yes, the Census Bureau's primary job is counting people every ten years, but they conduct other surveys all the time to help states, local communities, and businesses make informed decisions.

Terry Haven is glad that they do. She is the deputy director for Voices of Utah Children, a non-profit that works to help kids reach their full potential.

They rely on the Census surveys to tell them how many kids have slipped into poverty or have moved in with grandparents – the kinds of stats that change a lot more frequently than once per decade.

"We look at using data to make good policy change," she said. "You need good data. You can't just base what you want to happen on hearsay or myth or what we think is happening."

If you get one of these letters and don't trust going to a website to submit your answers, the Census Bureau says they will send a paper survey that you can fill out and mail back.

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