ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - It might be April Fools Day, but this is no joke. You have to get your census form in the mail Thursday for it to get counted on time.
The entire census process is simple, but some folks are having a tough time with it. It's actually not the census itself that is the issue here. It's people using the census as a way to scam others.
Bill Neugebauer might be busy as a new member of Altoona City Council, but he found some time in his day to take a walk.
“We take it seriously, they should take it seriously, too, and make sure they put their census information,” Neugebauer said.
The walk was a short but symbolic one. Neugebauer along with Altoona Mayor Bill Schirf and other city officials walked together to the post office to mail their filled out census forms.
“Money comes back to the city through the census with a direct count, with an actual count so as a result we need to know how many people are living in our city,” Neugebauer said.
Although the census is meant to be beneficial, it's causing panic for other people in the US.
"What’s happening is it's a mimic, a mock of our form,” Oklahoma Census Office Manager Sidna Madden said.
Scammers are putting fake census forms in mailboxes in Oklahoma. Those forms ask for financial and personal information, all things that aren't included on the real forms.
Here's what to look out for:
· Real forms don’t ask for ENTIRE social security numbers.
· Real forms don’t ask for money or donations
· Real forms don’t ask for PIN numbers, passwords, or other personal information about credit cards, bank accounts, etc.
Neugebauer thinks folks in Altoona and the surrounding areas are well educated about the correct census process, especially since Blair County has one of the highest compliance rates in the state regarding the census.
“People are watching they're listening, and they know that it's not something that's going to be harmful to them instead it's going to be a beneficial thing and as a result they're coming through,” Neugebauer said.
Answers to your census questions.
Click Here to see the participation rate in your area.
If you didn't receive a Census form yet, contact your local Census Office. Click Here to find your local office.