Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the 2010 Census

Yesterday, our board meeting ended when a fellow came into the Library's community room to set up for the Census exam that he was running last evening. Twenty-seven people he told us, were going to take the test.

We chatted for a minute -- would the Census Bureau hire retirees? Yes. He is a retiree himself. Part-time jobs? Yes. And they try to keep you close to home.

The Census Bureau will be hiring -- did he say three million ? -- census workers to complete the count. Hours are flexible, get paid while you train. Positions include: census takers, crew leaders and assistants, recruiters, and clerks.

Want to know more? call 1-866-861-2010 or visit

Then this morning I found this notice about the census from someone on the local human services listserv:

With the U.S.. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a 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:

1)     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.

2)     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, YOU DON'T  HAVE TO ANSWER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION. The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations.

 Any one asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau.
 AND REMEMBER, THE CENSUS BUREAU HAS DECIDED NOT TO WORK WITH ACORN  ON GATHERING THIS INFORMATION. No Acorn worker should approach you saying he/she is with the Census Bureau. 
Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by E-mail, so be on the lookout for E-mail scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an E-mail that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

I guess that people who want to steal your identity will resort to most anything.

Our census is important. It not only tells us who we are and what we are about, it serves as the basis for much government funding. There's a lot of interesting stuff on the Census 2010 website. Take a look.

No comments: