Valley woman questions U.S. Census survey

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PHOENIX - How many times has this person been married?

Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?

But it was this question: What time did this person usually leave home to go to work last week, that made Rose Mannett suspicious.

“Census bureau doesn't care about that, but if someone was trying to get information about who's home, how many rooms you have, that's a red flag,” Rose said.

The questions are included in something called the American Community Survey, a 28-page questionnaire claiming to be associated with the U.S. Census, a survey taken at the start of every decade to, among other things, determine our population.

“It's all over the news that they're now coming out with the census in March and that it's ten questions, but this is 28 pages!” Rose exclaimed.

So from the length of the survey to its probing questions, she believes she nearly became the victim of a scam.

"But people have to be made aware that this is not from the Census Bureau,” Rose said.

But Carla Mungai with the U.S. Census says there's no need to be alarmed.

“No, it's not a scam,” Carla explained.

Carla says the American Community Survey is a questionnaire used to collect data to determine what services are needed in that area.

She explains the survey is mailed to households nationwide, year 'round, and that it's not uncommon for people to be skeptical.

“Sometimes they're angry at the government, or their angry because they feel like we're invading their privacy,” she said.

Filling out the survey is required by law, but if there's a particular question that irks you, Carla says you can leave it blank, but keep in mind...

“A person who leaves almost everything out is likely to get a phone call or a visit,” she warned.

Even though it was purely coincidence that Rose received an American Community Survey around the time of the ten-year census, it's hard to deny, when it comes to giving up sensitive information, having your guard up is good.

The Census Bureau is still looking to hire thousands of people by the time the census is sent out in March. Click here for more information on how to apply. Click here for help determining whether a call or letter claiming to be from the Census Bureau is legit.