How do I know that an ad or mailing is really from the Census Bureau?

How do I know that an ad or mailing is really from the Census Bureau?

You pick up your mail and see an envelope or postcard that says “Census” on it. Or you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and see an ad that says “Census.” How can you tell that it’s really about the 2020 Census?

Organizations that are not part of the Census Bureau might use the word “Census” on ads and mailings to try to get your attention or trick you. Don’t fall for it! Here are some tips from the Census Bureau:

If you receive a survey or a letter in the mail from the Census Bureau, the envelope contains information that will help you verify its legitimacy. For example:
“U.S. Census Bureau” in the return address, or “U.S. Department of Commerce,” which is the Census Bureau’s parent agency.
Jeffersonville, IN in the return address. The Census Bureau has a mail processing center located there.

Households will receive an invitation in the mail to complete the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail. The enclosed envelope to mail back a completed paper questionnaire will be addressed to Jeffersonville, IN, or Phoenix, AZ.

The Census Bureau specifically asks organizations and businesses not to use words or images that might confuse people. Here is the Bureau’s request letter.

An example: You may have heard that Facebook decided yesterday to remove some presidential campaign ads. The ads were considered misleading because they used the word “Census.” Here are some news reports on what happened:

New York Times article
Reuters article
Associated Press article
Bloomberg News article

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