Online posts falsely claim census response will lead to cash

FILE - This March 18, 2020 file photo taken in Idaho shows a form for the U.S. Census 2020. Filling out this year's census form won't get you a check from the federal government as claims circulating on social media suggest. The posts state that if you respond to the census, you will receive a $1,200 stimulus check from the federal government that's intended to help Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress is considering mailing checks directly to households, but hasn't approved funding for the stimulus funding package yet.

The plan to move the 2020 Census primarily online now looks like a masterstroke of genius.

As citizens across the country are increasingly confined to their homes due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it seems many people have more than enough time on their hands to head online to complete the census which itself takes as little as five minutes. But Lake Havasu City wants to make sure that its citizens take that time as letters are distributed this month in anticipation of Census Day on April 1.

“It is important, now more than ever, for the city to have its fair share of resources as it pertains to the census data,” said Lake Havasu City Manager Jess Knudson. “We need the money to provide consistent uninterrupted services such as police, fire, water, sewer, transit, as well as all the other services the city provides.”

Although letters from the census gives a 12-digit code for people to identify their residence, Knudson said he didn’t wait for the letter to arrive. Even without the code, citizens can visit my2020census.gov and click on the, “If you do not have a Census ID, click here” link.

Lake Havasu City has been promoting the census for months, but the COVID-19 outbreak just before the finish line has caused the city to shift its strategy from the streets to the web.

“We have canceled all events and activities that include large gatherings, so our ability to get out into groups and the public to discuss these things has obviously been impacted,” Knudson said. “So we are much more reliant on Facebook, online resources, and word of mouth from our residents.”

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