Every ten years Uncle Sam asks each of us to provide some information through a Census, in an effort to distribute billions of dollars into appropriate infrastructure and services projects each year. It's purpose is important, however it also opens the door to scammers and criminals alike, who can't wait to take advantage of situations like this.
How will you be counted?
A form will be sent to your home via the mail, which will ask 10 questions, and no it isn't available on the Internet for 2010. These questions are aimed at determining the number of residents per home, and a minimally invasive set of information about each resident. You won't be asked to share your social security number at any time. It's very important that you fill out the form and send it back, or a "Census Taker" may visit your home to gather your answers in person.
What should you be aware of?
Legally you must provide the answers to the Census, whether via the form, a Census Taker who visits your home, or both.
Scams which may pose as the 2010 Census are sure to be in abundance. These scams may come across as emails, websites, telephone calls, or even people knocking at your door.
Do we have any tips for protecting your information?
- Online Information
Remember, the 2010 Census will never ask for your information online, via email or a website.
- The Form
Know how to identify the census form, any request will be clearly marked as coming from the U.S. Census Bureau and as OFFICIAL BUSINESS of the United States.
- Census Taker
A Census taker may visit your home even if you mailed the form back. Your form may have gotten lost or not arrived yet, you still need to provide the Census Taker with the answers shown on the form you received.
Identifying a Census Taker can be confusing, remember they will not ask to enter your home, if they do, be wary.
It's a good idea to ask to see 2 forms of identification, the first will be a badge with the persons name, and the second could be any form of photo identification, like a drivers license, or state id.
If a census taker contacts you via the phone, you still need to provide the information which is on the official form, but it's a good idea to gather the persons name, the office they work from, the date and time they called, and a phone number to reach them back on. Most scammers won't provide you this information.
- The information you share
Remember you only need to provide the answers to the questions which are on the form, you don't need to provide any other information.