A group called the Civic Council, with a return address in Maryland, has sent a mailing about a “2010 Census of Senior Citizens” with official looking elements such as a “voter identification number” and a request to return the item within 10 days. Beyond that, the letter – opening with “Dear Friend of Senior Citizens” – appears to be an ordinary interest-group mailing with a promise to use the information to “plan and develop our strategy for protecting Senior Citizens” and a promise to forward seniors’ concerns to leaders in Washington, D.C.

Independence Mayor Don Reimal is expressing about a “senior census” going out in the mail that some people might confuse for the federal census that kicks off in a few weeks.

A group called the Civic Council, with a return address in Maryland, has sent a mailing about a “2010 Census of Senior Citizens” with official looking elements such as a “voter identification number” and a request to return the item within 10 days. Beyond that, the letter – opening with “Dear Friend of Senior Citizens” – appears to be an ordinary interest-group mailing with a promise to use the information to “plan and develop our strategy for protecting Senior Citizens” and a promise to forward seniors’ concerns to leaders in Washington, D.C.

Reimal, who is on the state’s Complete Count Committee, says the mailing could confuse some seniors.

“And when the actual paperwork comes (for the federal census), they’ll say, ‘I’ve already filled this out,’” he said.

Reimal and others have stressed the importance of an accurate and complete federal census this spring. Missouri, for example, is close to losing a seat in Congress if enough other states have grown more than it has in the last decade. The state and federal governments also rely on census figures to allocate funds going to cities, schools and other local governments.

The mayor emphasized that the Census Bureau alone sees a household’s information, which is added to other households’ information to create statastical snapshot of the country, as required every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution. That individual information remains private, and the courts have consistently kept it out of the hands of law enforcement and other government agencies, even those such as the CIA.

“Nobody – I mean nobody – can get into it,” he said.

Census Day is April 1, and when the real form comes, it will have 10 questions.

“It should be fairly quick for people to fill out if they’ll only take the time to do it,” Reimal said.

The mayor wouldn’t call the Civic Council mailing a scam but said only that he had concerns.

Others, however, are more direct. Last summer, AARPBulletintoday posted an item under the headline “Scam Alert: Census Taker ... or Faker?” that said the Civic Council of Maryland was sending out a “census of senior citizens” and a pitch for a $25 donation. The AARP said the letter’s questions included “Should the Death Tax be permanently repealed?” – a question the group also uses in the mailing Reimal is concerned about.

How can you tell if that letter in your mail box is for the real census? For starters, the Census Bureau won’t send out its forms until mid-March. Also, that mailing will have the form with 10 questions, will not ask for anyone’s Social Security number, won’t ask for money and won’t ask you to join anything.


Learn more
www.silverplanet.com/scams/protecting-seniors/when-census-not-census/55486

bulletin.aarp.org/