Friday, 19 April 2024

US Census: How to avoid census fraud and scams

LAKE COUNTY – The 2010 Census forms have arrived in mailboxes throughout Northern California.


It should take approximately 10 minutes for each household to complete its form. Each 2010 Census packet includes a postage-paid envelope addressed to one of three U.S. Census Bureau’s Data Capture Centers located in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Phoenix, Arizona or Baltimore, Maryland.


Census forms are delivered directly to each household, either by the U.S. Postal Service or U.S. Census Bureau’s employees. About 90 percent of households in the United States received the census forms in the mail, the remaining 10 percent rural households had their forms hand-delivered.


Each census form contains a unique barcode and the 20-digit identification number for each household. The information embedded in the barcode and the 20-digit identification number allow the Census Bureau to precisely allocate the count to the cities and counties where these households are located.


Opportunists and scammers may want to take advantage of this once-a-decade national effort.


To ensure that the count is safe and confidential, the following information will help residents avoid census fraud and scams:


  • The unique barcode and the 20-digit ID number are on the back of each 2010 Census form.

  • None of the questions on the 2010 Census form asks for Social Security number, driver’s license number, bank account or PIN number, immigration or citizenship status.

  • The Census Bureau NEVER asks for donations or money.

  • 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.


If you are unsure that the 2010 Census form you received is authentic, please visit a Questionnaire Assistance Center (QAC) near you for help or call the Seattle Regional Census Center at 425-908-3000.


QAC locations can be found on the Internet at www.2010census.gov ; a list of local centers can be found at http://lakeconews.com/content/view/13258/919/ .


Toll-free telephone assistance hotlines are available seven days a week, from 8 am to 9 pm, in English and five other languages: English (1-866-872-6868), Spanish (1-866-928-2010), Chinese (1-866-935-2010), Vietnamese (1-866-945-2010), Korean (1-866-955-2010) and Russian (1-866-965-2010). Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons can call the TDD number: 1-866-783-2010.


Beginning in May, census workers will be visiting households that fail to mail back the 2010 Census form to collect information.


To help residents avoid fraud and scams, here are ways how census workers can be identified:


  • The 2010 Census workers will present residents a notice titled “Your Answers Are Confidential,” which explains the U.S. Code, Title 13, which guarantees the safeguarding and confidentiality of information collected by the Census Bureau.

  • Questions asked by 2010 Census workers will be the same questions on the 2010 Census form.

  • The 2010 Census workers will NEVER ask to come into your home.

  • The 2010 Census workers will NEVER ask for money or donations, Social Security number, driver’s license number, bank account or PIN number, immigration or citizenship status.

  • The 2010 Census workers wear a white ID badge with blue and red lettering.

  • The 2010 Census workers may carry a black and white canvas bag that bears the Census Bureau’s name and logo.


In the event residents want to verify that the census takers at their doors are legitimate employees of the US Census Bureau, they are encouraged to call the Seattle Regional Census Center at 1-877-471-5432.


Residents also can ask census workers to provide them with a Local Census Office’s telephone number, which they can call to verify employment status. If residents feel threatened, they should call local law enforcement or 911.


Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census takes place every 10 years. Census Day is April 1, 2010. Census data determine boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts.


More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed annually based on census data to pay for local programs and services, such as schools, highways, vocational training, emergency services, hospitals, unemployment benefits and much more. Learn more about the 2010 Census at www.2010.census.gov .


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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