Fake census surveys reported in Cascade County

The Montana Department of Commerce is reminding Montanans that official U.S. Census Bureau surveys will never ask respondents for money, credit card numbers or social security numbers and questionnaires will always be postmarked from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, according to a release from the Montana commerce department.

“This reminder comes on the heels of another Census look-a-like survey being mailed to Montana residents, this time in Cascade County. The survey is called the ‘2020 Congressional District Census’ and was mailed by the Republican National Committee. In addition, it asks respondents to pay, at minimum, $15 for processing the ‘census document.’ In May and September of 2019, the same Census look-a-like mailers were sent to people in Gallatin, Lewis and Clark, Jefferson and Missoula counties,” according to the release.

In October, Gov. Steve Bullock asked the RNC to halt sending the deceptive surveys and this week in Congress, members of the House Oversight Committee asked the U.S. Census Bureau to get involved and requested the spoofed mailers be stopped, according to the release. Congress has taken steps to prevent Census look-a-like mailings, including the 2010 Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act.

The 2020 Census count begins next month. Official documents for the decennial Census will be mailed or left on doors of every household in Montana beginning mid-March.

“A complete count of Montanans is critical because it determines the state’s share of federal funding for the next decade, it shapes local voting districts and it determines whether Montana will get another representative in Congress,” according to the release. “It’s estimated Montana receives $2 billion in federal funds each year as a result of the official Census. For every Montana resident not counted the state stands to lose $20,000 over the next decade for things like healthcare, housing, highways, schools, and student loan programs.”

Learn more about the Census and why it matters to Montana at CENSUS.MT.GOV.