BBB offers tips to avoid census scams - - Jackson, MS

BBB offers tips to avoid census scams

Roslyn Anderson - bio | email

RIDGELAND, MS (WLBT) – Census forms were sent out to your mailbox Monday.

In about a month some Americans can even expect a face to face visit with a census taker.

Here is some advice to keep you from falling prey to scams.

This week postal workers will begin delivering census forms.

Over the next 18 months census workers will also hand deliver questionnaires to rural areas and other locations going door to door to collect information.

"If they identify themselves as a census worker, the first thing you should do is ask for identification," said Better Business Bureau President Bill Moak.

The BBB advises citizens to be certain you're speaking with a badge carrying U.S. Census worker and to avoid being scammed.

"They will have identification, and they will not ask to enter your home. You should also not give any bank account information or things like this, and if they ask for anything like that it's a sign that this is not the person they say they are," said  Moak.

Census workers will only go door to door from April through July and won't need to come inside your home.

The forms will ask 10 questions relating to name, gender, age, race ethnicity and home ownership.

A visiting census worker will have i.d., a handheld device and a confidentiality notice.

They will not ask for your Social Security number or any bank or credit card account information.

They won't ask for money or say you owe money.

You won't be harassed or intimidated.

Workers will not contact you by email, only by phone, mail or in person.

"They want to get a certain number of people interviewed in person and that's a small percentage of the total, but there are people going from the census," said the BBB president.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, national participation in the 2000 census was 72 %.

The participation rate in the city of Jackson was 73%, while it was only 66 % for the state of Mississippi.

Citizens are required by law to respond to census information requests.

The data is used to allocate federal funds and determine congressional representation.

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