Sheriff McMahon Encourages Safety during Census Visit

NEW HANOVER – Common sense tells you to be wary of someone knocking on your door and asking for personal information.  But if you didn’t complete and mail in your 2010 Census form by April 1, a federal government worker will appear on your doorstep with some important and personal questions.

This situation leaves citizens vulnerable to con artists.  How do you comply with a federal law without falling victim to a scam?  According to the Better Business Bureau, here’s how to protect yourself:

  • U.S. Census workers will go door-to-door from April through July, stopping only at households that have not returned the census form mailed in mid-March to every household.  If you have already completed the form and mailed it in, you do not have to answer any questions from a census worker.
  • A U.S. Census worker will have a badge, a handheld data storage device, a Census Bureau canvas bag and a confidentially notice.  Ask to see the worker’s identification and badge before answering any questions.  Even if the person is a legitimate census worker, never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.
  • Trust your instincts.  If at any time during your exchange with the census worker you begin to feel uneasy or that the questions are intrusive, step back inside your home, lock the door, and call 911.
  • Do not give your Social Security number or any financial information to someone who knocks on your door or calls on the telephone.  The standard census form has nine questions that pertain to how many people live in the household, who they are (name, age, gender, race and ethnicity), and then ask for a telephone number, in case the Census Bureau has any questions about something on the form.  To view the 2010 Census questions, visit www.2010.census.gov.
  • You do not have to answer any questions about your financial situation, even if you are mailed a long survey form, known as the American Community Survey.  The ACS has a location where you indicate your salary range, but it does not ask for any documentation of your answer, nor does it ask for any other information about your finances.
  • If you are contacted by e-mail, no matter how official looking, you are being scammed.  Do not respond.  Delete the email without clicking on any links or opening any attachments.
  • The Census Bureau will not work with ACORD (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) on gathering information.  If anyone claims to be working with ACORN to collect census information, this is a scam.  Do not give that person any information.
  • Share this information with anyone who might answer your door.

“To better protect themselves, citizens should be informed on how to identify the official Census Workers and know the questions being asked of them,” said Sheriff Ed McMahon.

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Sheriff's Office: 3950 Juvenile Center Road • Castle Hayne, NC 28429 • Phone 910-798-4200 • Fax 910-798-4212