Avoiding Census Fraud, Scams

Avoiding Census Fraud, Scams

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Bothell, Washington-- — As census workers fan out into Northern California collecting 2010 Census information from households that did not mail back their form, the U.S. Census Bureau wants to remind people about how to avoid fraud and scams.
Starting May 1, the Census Bureau launched its door-knocking operation, where census takers personally visit households that didn’t mail back a completed 2010 Census questionnaire.
The personnel-intensive operation - referred to as Non-Response Follow-Up (NRFU) - is part of the Bureaus’ wide-scale effort to count every person living in the United States. Nationally, an estimated 48 million addresses will be visited through July 10. An estimated 1.8 million addresses will be visited in Northern California. The Census Bureau’s Northern California region stretches from Santa Cruz County, to the south, and the Oregon border, to the north.
About 635,000 census takers have been deployed around the nation for this operation, with more than 19,000 in Northern California. All enumerators were hired locally, typically working in the neighborhoods where they live. As Census employees, enumerators take an oath to not reveal any identifiable information with anyone. Violating the oath could result in a penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
Opportunists and scammers may want to take advantage of this once-a-decade national effort. If a 2010 Census worker knocks on your door, hereare some ways to verify that person is a legitimate census taker:
Census takers wear an ID badge that contains a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark.
• Census takers may carry a black and white canvas bag with a Census Bureau logo.
• Census takers will NEVER ask to come into your home.
• Census takers will present residents a notice titled “Your Answers Are Confidential,” which explains the U.S. Code, Title 13, guaranteeing the safeguarding and confidentiality of information collected by the Census Bureau.
• Census workers will ask the same questions that appear on the 2010 Census form. It should take less than 10 minutes if people cooperate with census takers.
• Census workers will NEVER ask for money or donations, Social Security number, credit card information, bank acount numbers, immigration or citizenship status.
• The Census Bureau NEVER requests for information via e-mail.
• The Census Bureau does not conduct surveys or censuses on behalf of political parties or organizations.
In most cases, census workers will make initial visits during afternoons, early evenings and weekends. Census workers will make up to six attempts at each housing unit address to count possible residents. This includes leaving notifications of the attempted visit at the house or apartment door, in addition to trying to reach the household by phone to conduct the interview or schedule an in-person interview.
The Census Bureau is urging cooperation and patience with the census takers, as this is the best way to ensure that everyone is counted properly.
If asked, the census taker will provide the supervisor’s contact information and/or the Local Census Office phone number for verification. If residents feel threatened, they should call local law enforcement or 911.