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Pennsylvania Officials Warn Public Of Census Scams

Michelle R. Smith
An actual mailing by the U.S. Census Bureau

State officials warned the public on Friday to be aware of Census-related scams, following a Philadelphia Inquirer report that Republicans had used a Census-like form in a political mailing.
“An accurate Census is a fair Census and using the 2020 Census as a way to confuse and scam residents of the commonwealth is unacceptable,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Sec. Dennis Davin in a statement. “The real Census questionnaire is short and clear, so we encourage any Pennsylvania resident who receives a questionable document in the mail to contact their local Census hub, which is the most reliable resource for clarification, with any doubts, questions, or concerns.”

The Inquirer reported last week that forms that looked similar to the U.S. Census were mailed to some Delaware County residents. But questions on the form asked about their political affiliation, and whether the national media has a "strong bias against all things Donald Trump." Upon closer examination, the form disclosed that it was commissioned by the Republican Party.

Party officials didn’t comment, according to the newspaper.

State officials have since said that real Census workers will never ask about politics. They also won't ask for details like Social Security numbers and bank information, which scammers might want. Pennsylvanians will begin getting the real Census form in mid-March.

The U.S. Census occurs every 10 years, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, to count every person in the country.

Lucy Perkins is an editor and also reports on federal government and elections for the Government and Accountability team. Before joining the WESA newsroom, she was an NPR producer in Washington, D.C., working on news programs like All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. You can reach her at lperkins@wesa.fm.
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