We’re in the next phase of the Census folks, and you can protect yourself from impostors and help save all of us money if you keep the following in mind

What to expect when a census taker knocks on your door. A few key points:

  • A census taker will only ask the 10 simple questions on the census form.
  • A census taker will never ask your social security number, your financial information or to come inside a home.
  • A census taker is a person from the community who is hired by the Census Bureau.
  • Census takers can be identified by their official government badges and black canvas census bags.

And here is an important letter…

By: Steve Jost, Associate Director for Communications, U.S. Census Bureau

The counting of our country’s population was so important to our founding fathers that they wrote it into the Constitution (Article I, Section 2). James Madison helped write five of the six questions on the first census in 1790, and Thomas Jefferson managed the whole door to door thing with U.S. Marshalls.

The modern census is done in two parts. First by mail, and then, just like 1790, we go door to door to households from whom we did not collect a form. Starting Saturday, May 1, some 600,000 “enumerators” will be working in their own communities and visiting homes that either didn’t return a census form or didn’t receive one.

Ok, so you get it, the census is important. It’s about political representation and the fair distribution of government funds. But what’s equally important is your privacy and security.

All census workers have taken an oath for life to protect the confidentiality of the data they collect. In addition, by law the Census Bureau cannot share your answers with anyone, not housing authorities, not tax authorities, not law enforcement. Not even the President of the United States can see your answers.

Census workers will be easily identifiable: Each will have an official government badge (identifiable by the seal of the Census Bureau) and a black canvas census bags.

If you have any doubt about whether the person at the door is a census taker, here is a list of what 2010 census workers will NOT ask you for:

Your social security number
Any personal financial information
To come inside your home
A census worker will only ask the 10 questions on the census form. The entire process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes of your time!

So if you see a census worker in your community, remember that your answers determine 1) your state’s representation in Congress and 2) how we will allocate $400 billion in federal funds each year over the next decade. These funds are used to support emergency services, schools, senior centers, bridges, tunnels and other public work projects.

By being counted you are standing up for your community’s needs, helping your neighbors, and taking care of future generations.

If you haven’t mailed back your form, it’s OK. Someone from your community will soon be there to help.

The US Census Bureau is also on Twitter.

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