2010 Census: Keep your personal information safe!

3453643879_6cff4c72232010 will bring more than a new decade: it will also bring census takers to the doors of our Pacific Northwest homes.

While it’s important to be cooperative with census takers who come to your home, it is also wise to be cautious and make sure 1) you’re dealing with a person truly working for the 2010 Census; and 2) you’re only providing the information necessary.

Here’s some helpful information from the Better Business Bureau:

U.S. Census workers will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag (seen at right), and a confidentiality notice.  Ask to take a look at their I.D. and their badge before answering their questions.  Census worker or not, never invite someone you don’t know into your home.

Census workers are only verifying address information at this time.  Never give someone claiming to work for the census your Social Security Number, your credit card information, or any banking information.  Though census workers may ask for basic financial information such as salary range, anyone requesting more detailed information is not working for the census.  The only information you really need to provide for the U.S. Census is how many people live at your address.

While Census workers may eventually contact you via mail, telephone, or in person at your home, they will not contact you via email, so don’t give out your email address or open any emails claiming to be from the Census Bureau.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where scams and identity theft are a real challenge, and it can impact everything from buying a home to securing your retirement.  But with a bit of common-sense caution, you can protect yourself and your family!

(photo credit: seandreilenger)

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