The 2010 Census is due next year. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is issuing a warning to be cautious with giving out too much information. Don’t become a victim of fraud or identity theft.
The first phase of the 2010 U.S. census is gathering and verifying addresses of households across the country. Eventually more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the U.S. and gather information about them. The census includes information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race and other relevant data.
If you receive an in-home visit from a U.S. Census worker, make sure he/she has a badge, a handheld device, a U.S. Census Bureau canvas bag and a confidentiality notice. Always ask to see identification and badge before answering any questions. In addition, census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone even if they insist they need it for the U.S. Census. They do not need this information and chances are they are con artists looking to steal your identity.
The Census Bureau may ask for basic financial information, but they will only ask for a salary range and you don’t need to answer any questions about your financial situation. Remember, no matter what a census worker is asking you, you only need to tell them how many people live at your address and nothing more.
In addition, if the Census worker is working with Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN), tell them to get lost. No ACORN worker is working for the Census Bureau next year. Finally, census workers may contact you by telephone, mail or in person at home. If you receive an email – delete the email because it is a scam to steal your identity or harm your computer. For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud visit www.bbb.org.