March 03, 2010 U.S. Census forms will be hitting area mailboxes soon—and unfortunately so will related scams.
It's important to take part in the census. It helps determine where billions of dollars in federal funds will land, and affects the number of seats Michigan occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives. Compliance is mandatory.
Within two weeks, the Census Bureau will deliver a short 10-question form to each household in the country, along with a prepaid envelope so residents can mail it back quickly. Addresses which don't respond will be visited by a census worker. The Census Bureau is aiming to count every U.S. resident and non-resident alike.
You'll be asked for basic information such as name, age, gender, race and salary range, but they will never ask for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers. The Bureau will not contact residents by email and the form is not available for online completion. Census workers may contact you by phone, usually regarding surveys. If you're in question, confirm that the caller is a legitimate Census Bureau employee by calling 1-866-226-2864.
Census workers who knock on doors come equipped with an ID badge with an expiration date and a Department of Commerce watermark. If you're at all in doubt, you can request contact information for the local Census office or a supervisor for verification. Census workers are trained to ask their questions outside the door—residents should be wary of people who try to enter your home or solicit donations of any sort.