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Beware of potential 2010 US Census scams

March 03, 2010
  • Beware of potential 2010 US Census scams
Beware of potential 2010 US Census scams

In the next few weeks you will receive your census form in the mail.

Participating in the census is not a choice, it's mandatory.

People need to protect themselves from potential fraud or scams that could be out there during the 2010 Census.

Federal law requires everyone's compliance.

The 2010 Census website is a great place to become familiar with the form that will be sent out.

It's simple, straightforward, and only asks 10 questions.

There are some personal questions, such as the first and last names of the people living in your home, ages, date of birth, and a phone number.

Nowhere on the form does it ask for your social security number.

Keep in mind, if you do not fill it out and return it a census taker may come to your home. They may also pay you a visit if there is a question about the answers you provide.

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If a census taker needs to come to your home, there's an important phone number to keep handy. You can call 704-936-5300 if you are concerned about the identity of the census taker.

The important thing to remember - they will never ask to come inside your home and the census taker will have official identification.

Also keep in mind, the census form will come through regular mail, never by email.

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"IT IS TIME TO COUNT AMERICA AGAIN"

Preventing Fraud During the 2010 Census

By

First Sergeant Robert P. Chappell, Jr.

Virginia State Police

The U.S. Constitution requires that a census be conducted every ten years to count each resident of the United States. Information from the 2010 Census will be used for many purposes from determining federal dollars for public works projects to determining the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In March of 2010 census forms will be mailed to every residence in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Contained in the mailing will be a form with ten questions and a postage-paid envelope. The U.S. Census will request that you complete the form and mail it back to the agency.

Information collected by the census is protected by federal law. Your private information is never published and the release of your name, address, social security number or telephone number is prohibited by Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the Confidential Statistical Efficiency Act, and the Privacy Act. Additionally, the employees of the U.S. Census Bureau take the "oath of nondisclosure" and are sworn for life to protect the confidentially of the data.

What is used from the information are the statistical numbers from the data submitted. These numbers determine what your portion of representation will be within the federal government based on the number of people in your state. The 2010 Census also determines the future portion of money your state will receive for schools, hospitals, senior centers, bridges, tunnels, job training centers, and emergency services.

Your participation in the 2010 Census isn't just important or encouraged, it's mandatory. Federal law requires your compliance. If you elect to ignore the mailing the U.S. Census will send a census taker to your home to collect the information. Census takers are persons hired from your community to make sure your community is represented as accurately as possible.

To protect you from potential fraud or scams that criminals might attempt during the 2010 Census, the Virginia State Police want you to know what to expect from someone visiting your home claiming to be an "official" census taker.

* Census takers visiting your home will possess an identification issued by the U.S. Census Bureau. Ask to see this identification if someone comes to your residence stating they are a census taker. If for any reason you are concerned about their identity, call the Regional Census Office covering Virginia at (704) 936-5300.

* According to the U.S. Census website, located at http://2010.census.gov, "the census taker will never ask to enter your home". This is important to know because someone who is posing as a census taker, but really is not, may attempt otherwise.

* Lastly, the questions asked must be answered by someone 15 years old or older. Census takers will not interview children for their answers. If your children advise you that they have had contact with an adult claiming to be a census taker, ask your child fully about the encounter.

The Virginia State Police care about our citizens. We want our residents to be counted but protected from anyone attempting fraud.

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