Unsolicited Text From U.S. Census Bureau Has Link To COVID Survey: Is It Legit?

Sep 3, 2020, 6:30 PM | Updated: Sep 4, 2020, 9:08 am

MURRAY, Utah – A text message making the rounds claiming to be from the U.S. Census Bureau is asking recipients to fill out surveys about COVID-19.

When a Murray woman got the text out of  the blue, she thought maybe it was part of a new scam, so she contacted the KSL Investigators. As it turns out, it wasn’t a message designed to chisel her out of her money or her personal information.

“I got this text that said it was from the Census Bureau,” said Patricia Worthington. “When I got this, I thought, I’ve already responded to the census. It was a little strange.”

Worthington received several similar messages from the same five-digit SMS short code number – each asking her to click a link so she could fill out a survey about the COVID-19 situation. To her, it bore the hallmarks of a scam.

“I’ve been getting an awful lot of texts that are really clearly fraudulent or something I don’t want to reply to,” she said.

To Worthington, who said she worked as a census taker for the 2000 census, it felt odd that the Census Bureau would even ask people about COVID. Isn’t that more in the wheelhouse of outfits like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Health and Human Services?

“I just was concerned enough that I didn’t want to respond but if it was okay – then sure, I’d be happy to respond,” she said.

We took Worthington’s texts to the U.S. Census Bureau and they told us in an email that, yes – the texts she received are legitimate.

Turns out, bureau officials said they’re “collecting data to measure household experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.”

It’s called the Household Pulse Survey, and the data it collects pertains to job status, spending, food security, housing, health, access to health care and schooling. And survey invites are being sent through texts and emails because the Census Bureau aims to provide state and federal agencies real-time data for planning and recovery efforts.

So, how do you know if the text is really from the bureau, and not a scammer? It’ll come from this SMS short code number – 39242. The same number appeared on all those texts Worthington received. The Census Bureau is also sending emails to Americans it has chosen to survey. Official emails are sent from, CovidSurvey@Census.gov.

Worthington said knowing now the link is valid, she plans to fill out the survey.

You might recall that when the first round of stimulus money went out, thousands got bogus texts and emails from the supposed Census Bureau, saying they had to fill out the census to get their check which is 100% untrue.

Now that Congress is hammering out a second round of stimulus checks, expect a resurgence in that scam. Again, only 39242 is the legitimate number the Census Bureau is using to reach folks chosen to participate in the Household Pulse Survey, which will be ongoing through October 26.

More information about the survey can be found here:


KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps restore West Valley man’s Social Security disability payments

Jeff Davis gets disability payments from the Social Security Administration. At least, he did up until his mom passed away in December.
6 days ago
The Pearsons tell KSL’s Matt Gephardt they should be reimbursed by either the airline or the onli...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Sandy couple Gets Gephardt after booking error left them paying out for pricey return flights

A Sandy couple bought roundtrip tickets to Hawaii, but when they discovered their return tickets were no good, they had to buy pricey replacements. When they were refused reimbursement, they decided to Get Gephardt.
7 days ago
Amy Olsen...
Matt Gephardt

Utahns cleared of DUI accusations are forced to pay to get their licenses back

Amy Olsen has her driving privilege back now, but it cost her $255. For her, it is a frustrating ordeal that began months earlier when a trooper pulled her over.
11 days ago
Gas bill...
Matt Gephardt

Gas company increasing bills for customers on fixed payments plan

If you're told you're going to pay the same price for 12 months, you wouldn't expect the price to go up. But when the natural gas company raised the rates on a Payson woman, she decided to Get Gephardt to investigate.
11 days ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Matt Gephardt

$21 billion in gift cards go unused. Here’s how to avoid letting them go to waste

Gift cards: they are one of the most popular gifts to give and to receive, but that does not necessarily mean they are going to get used.
13 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

How to beat the dynamic pricing used by Amazon and many other retailers to pay less

The KSL Investigates team gives you information on how to beat dynamic pricing to get your money's worth and pay less.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
Unsolicited Text From U.S. Census Bureau Has Link To COVID Survey: Is It Legit?