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VIA Charlotte Regional Census Center:

As the 2010 Census unfolds, the U.S. Census Bureau is emphasizing that safety for the public, as well as census employees, is top priority.

“It’s important that people know how to identify a sworn census taker so they can protect themselves from frauds and scammers,” said William W. Hatcher, regional director for the U.S. Census Bureau.  “As our 2010 Census operations kick into high gear, we want to protect the people of South Carolina while we are asking their cooperation.”

About 130 million households nationwide have received 2010 Census questionnaires, most by Postal Service delivery.  People are asked to complete the 10-question forms and return them by mail as soon as possible.  In some places, such as very rural areas and mountain and beach resorts with seasonal housing, census takers already are going door-to-door.  For most areas, however, the door-to-door census taking begins May 1 and will continue through July.

Hatcher listed several ways people can identify census employees during the 2010 Census. Sworn Census Bureau employees will:

  • Wear official identification badges with the words “U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,” the name of census taker and the words “U.S. CENSUS BUREAU.”  A census taker might also carry a black bag with the words “U.S. CENSUS BUREAU” written on it.
  • Provide you with supervisor contact information and/or the local census office telephone number upon request. You can call these telephone numbers to verify that the person at your door is a sworn census employee.
  • Ask only about the questions that appear on the 2010 Census form. You can find these questions by going to www.2010census.gov.
  • Not ask for donations, bank account numbers, the amount of money you have in the house, Social Security numbers or credit card numbers.
  • Not contact you by e-mail, although they might telephone you in some cases.
  • Not ask about citizenship status.

“A guiding principle for the Census Bureau is to hire people who live in the neighborhoods where they will work,” Hatcher said. “People are more likely to trust and cooperate with people they know.

We want residents to feel safe and census workers can safely do their jobs.”

Census employees take an oath of confidentiality and can face a fine of up to $250,000 and/or five years in prison for violating that oath.

Decennial census results are used to determine the number of seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives, the shape of legislative and local government districts, and how $400 billion in federal funds is distributed annually to communities across America.

April 1, 2010, is Census Day, the reference date for collecting decennial census information.