MATT GEPHARDT

Gephardt: Suspicious-Looking Census Letters Prove Legitimate

Feb 26, 2020, 7:48 PM | Updated: 8:25 pm

SANDY, Utah – The United States Census isn’t until March, but some Utahns are getting census letters telling them they need to answer questions right now. A Sandy woman who got such a letter decided to give it to Gephardt to investigate.

The letter is threatening. You are required by law to respond, it reads.

A Sandy City resident received these mailers from the US Census Bureau.

A Sandy City resident received these mailers from the US Census Bureau.

It’s also impersonal. When Colleen Campbell-Ballegooie received it, it came addressed to “resident.”

It also asks Campbell-Ballegooie to go to a website to answer personal questions. The website listed on the letter is not the website the US Census Bureau has been advertising for its upcoming national census.

Those clues, along with the fact that the letter arrived about a month before the national census is scheduled to begin, had Campbell-Ballegooie nervous. She did as instructed, went online and answered the questions. But now she wonders to whom she actually provided her information.

“I’m worried I could have been [scammed],” she said.

KSL TV took it to Coralys Ruiz Jiménez, regional spokesperson for the U.S. Census Bureau. She looked at Campbell-Ballegooie’s letter and confirmed it really did come from them.

Ruiz Jiménez said the letter is part of what’s called the American Community Survey.

“The census is only every 10 years, but we conduct surveys throughout the year,” she said.

The American Community Survey provides vital information that helps determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year. Ruiz Jiménez said that, through the American Community Survey, they know more about jobs and occupations, educational attainment, veterans, whether people own or rent their homes, and other topics.

KSL TV delivered the good news to Campbell-Ballegooie that she did not compromise her identity by answering the survey. She was relieved.

If you have a problem you can’t solve, contact Matt Gephardt. You can call 385-707-6153, email matt@ksl.com, or submit a tip online. 

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Gephardt: Suspicious-Looking Census Letters Prove Legitimate