They'll also visit people who didn’t receive a form.
If someone comes to your door and tells you that they're a census worker, make sure that they're telling you the truth.
- They must show you their ID badge. The badge has a Department of Commerce watermark on it and an expiration date. They may also be carrying a black canvass bag with a Census Bureau logo.
- They must provide you with information about how to contact their supervisor and/or the phone number of the local census office, if you ask for it.
- They must ask you only the questions that appear on the census form.
- They must not ask you for your social security number, your bank account number, or your credit card number.
- They must not ask you for money.
- They must not contact you by e-mail.
If they aren't able to talk with you, they're allowed to talk to your neighbor, your rental agent, your building manager, or anyone else who knows your household in order to obtain as much basic information about you as they can.
All census takers have had an FBI background check that includes a name check and a fingerprint check. They took an oath for life that they'll protect the information they collect, and they were told that they can get fined up to $250,000, put in jail for up to five years, or suffer both penalties if they disclose any personally identifiable information about anyone they've interviewed.
By law, the Census Bureau can't share your answers with the IRS, the FBI, the CIA, or any other government agency.
The 2010 Census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Information is used to
- determine how many Congressional seats each state will get,
- distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to state and local governments each year until the next census in 2020,
- and make decisions about which community services to provide.
For more information about the census, please read these posts on the KARMA blog:
Be Counted in the Census, Lower Your Taxes--Mail Your Census Form, and You Probably Know by Now That the Census Is Here.