Accuracy "counts" with regard to the 2010 United States Census. Population figures determine how many seats each state occupies in the United States House of Representatives. They also go a long way toward determining where and how billions in federal dollars are distributed for projects like building bridges and services such as emergency response programs. Therefore, making sure we are all included in the Census helps assure that our state is fairly represented in Congress and our community can compete for federal funding.
It is also crucial to be cautious during a census year. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises each of us to cooperate fully with census workers, but to also be certain anyone claiming to be collecting data for the U.S. Census is actually a Census worker—not someone looking to make you a victim of fraud or identity theft.
Census workers will have official credentials.
Census workers will use handheld devices such as this to collect data.
More than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will be sent out to count every person in America. They will gather information about every person living at each address, including name, age, gender, race and more. How do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist?
The BBB offers the following advice:
If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification before answering their questions.
However, you should never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.
Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census.
While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, you are not required to answer any questions about your financial situation. The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers. Nor will employees solicit donations. Anyone asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau.
Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail or in person at your home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by e-mail, so be on the lookout for e-mail scams impersonating the Census.
Never click on a link or open any attachments in an e-mail that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau. You can forward any e-mail or Web site address you suspect of being part of a Census-related scam to ITSO.Fraud.Reporting@census.gov.
For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit www.bbb.org.
The Census Bureau does NOT conduct the 2010 Census via the Internet.
The Bureau does NOT send e-mails about participating in the 2010 Census.
The Census Bureau never:
- Asks for your social security number
- Asks for money or a donation
- Sends requests on behalf of a political party
- Requests PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards or bank accounts, including the account numbers.
CLICK HERE for more information about how to avoid fraudulent activity and scams.
The Census Bureau collects information to produce statistics.
All Census employees are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data they collect.
The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to 5 years -- or both.
CLICK HERE for more information about the legal safeguards for Census data.