Don’t be scammed during the 2010 census. With the U.S. Census process beginning, the BBB advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft.
“It’s imperative that consumers provide their information during the 2010 U.S. Census,” said Barry Goggin, president of the BBB serving northeast California. “Consumers need to understand what the Census Bureau actually does in order to avoid being scammed.”
The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census has been completed. Workers have verified the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will identify every address in the United States.
The Census data will be used to allocate more than $400 billion in federal funds every year, as well as determine a State’s number of Congressional representatives. Households are actually required by law to respond to the Census Bureau’s request for information.
The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to identify Census Bureau protocol.
How to Identify a Census Field Representative
· If a U.S. Census Bureau employee knocks on your door, here are some recognition tips to assure the validity of the field representative:
o The field representative must present an ID badge that contains: Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date.
o The field representative will provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the Regional Office phone number for verification, if asked.
o The field representative will provide you with a letter of confidentiality from the Census Bureau.
o The field representative may be carrying a laptop and/or bag with a Census Bureau logo.
When Field Representatives will be Going Door-to-Door
· From Mary to July 2010, field representatives will knock on the door of every household that does not mail back a completed 2010 Census form.
· They need your help — it’s critical that you take just 10 minutes to fill out and mail back your form rather than wait for a census worker to show up on your doorstep. About $85 million in taxpayer dollars are saved for every one percent increase in mail response.
· The Census Bureau must get a census form to – and a completed form back from – every residence in the United States. That’s more than 130 million addresses. This is why the census is the largest domestic mobilization our nation undertakes.
What the 2010 Census DOES NOT Ask
· Field representatives will never ask you for your social security number, bank account number, or credit card number. Census workers also never solicit for donations and will never contact you by e-mail.
The Census is Safe
· The 2010 Census will ask for name, gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship, and whether you own or rent your home – just 10 simple questions that will take about 10 minutes to answer.
· Your answers are protected by law and are not shared with anyone. The Census Bureau safeguards all census responses to the highest security standards available.