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26 January, 2010

Don't Lose Your Census

I know, I know, your eyes are in the back of your head over this old pun. But truly, as genealogists who idolize the Census, it would be easy to get carried away when answering questions about the upcoming Census.  I received an email from my homeowners' association regarding cautions to remember when completing Census surveys.  This article was written by Susan Johnson of the Better Business Bureau, and she encouraged us to pass the word on.  Some minor formatting changes were added, solely to correct spacing issues that had come up in the paste.  No words were changed.  This is important information for all, but especially for the elderly who may lack adequate social supports; they often so excited to have contact with the "outside world" they often talk to anyone about anything.

WARNING:

2010 Census Cautions from the Better Business Bureau
by Susan Johnson - August 3, 2009 12:07 pm

Be Cautious About Giving Info to Census Workers

With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data.

The big question is - how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? 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 and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home. 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 claim they need it for the U.S. Census. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, the Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers nor will employees solicit donations.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau

For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit

http://www.bbb.org/us/article/10306
http://www.snopes.com/fraud/identity/census.asp

SHARE THIS INFO WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

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