Mailings from Census Bureau raising red flags for some

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WAUKESHA (WITI) -- The census survey comes every decade, but recent mailings claiming to be from the Census Bureau are raising red flags for some.

Bonnie Wieselmann says when the mailings arrived at her Waukesha apartment, her first question was: "Is this real?"

"My biggest concern was I didn't hear anything about it and like I said, I had contacted all my neighbors and no one in this apartment complex had gotten one. No one I had spoken to had gotten one," Wieselmann said.

A spokesman with the United States Census Bureau says Wieselmann has what used to be called the "long-form" census survey.

Now, it is called the "American Community Survey," and it is sent out every year.

Vanessa Koster, a planning manger for the city of Milwaukee says the information from those surveys makes a huge difference at the local level.

"It helps us determine where we should locate new housing or new employment opportunities," Koster said.

Wieselmann still has questions regarding the content of the survey.

"Well there's a lot of questions here that don't make any sense to me as to what it would have to do with the census -- like how far I have to drive to work, whether or not I own a computer, just things that are very personal that I don't understand why I have to answer these questions," Wieselmann said.

Planning officials say they do put that information to use, and add it is important to get a sample of that data every year as opposed to waiting 10 years for the full census.

"It's now updated annually and it is city-wide so that is very useful for us," Koster said.

A spokesman for the Census Bureau says every year, it sends out three million copies of the American Community Survey. If you got one and aren't sure whether it is legitimate, call the Census Regional Office in Chicago -- at 1-800-865-6384.