Census says American community survey not a scam

A surprise survey in the mail has some in the Tri-State wondering whether it's a scam or if they have to fill it out and mail it back.

The American Community Survey asks a lot of very personal questions and you are required by law to fill it out.

"It's information that anyone can find out just by overhearing a conversation at the store or something," says Arlene Lewis.

The survey is from the U.S. Census Bureau and it has been going out since 2005 asking questions such as: 'Do you own your home,' how well do you speak English,' and 'how much money do you make?'

"Just get it over with, just do it," says Joshua Jackson. "It's part of your business, just get it taken care of like the rest of Americans do."

Each year, three-and-a-half million surveys go out but when some people receive it, they assume it's a scam and don't fill it out.

Some Tri-Staters say it's just easier to fill out, avoiding the fine which could reach over a thousand dollars.

The government knows enough about me already. Why do I need to give them any more information? To me, it's just an invasion of privacy," says Dale Jennings, I'd just pitch it.  Even if there's a $100 fine?  Let them fine me."

The Census says your information is safe and employees take an oath of privacy for life. If they break the oath it's an automatic five years in prison or a $250-thousand fine, or both.

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