Take these precautions to keep your information safe as 2020 Census nears

Take these precautions to keep your information safe as 2020 Census nears
Don't be fooled by people pretending to be census takers. Ask for identification. (Source: wdam)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Officials say there are some things to look out for as the U.S. Census Bureau begins preparing to count people living in the country.

In March, the bureau will start mailing out invitations to participate in the 2020 Census. In some areas, the invitations will be hand-delivered.

In May, census takers will begin visiting homes that do not respond to the invitation to make sure everyone is counted.

If you aren’t home or can’t come to the door, census takers may return up to six times. Each time, they’ll leave a door hanger with a phone number, your name, gender, date of birth, and race. They’re going to ask for that information from every individual who lives at the address.

“It’s going to be from the US Department of Commerce, it’s going to say United States Census Bureau. It’s going to be a very thorough survey, but it’s never going to ask for your social security number, it’s never going to ask for your account numbers or your mother’s maiden name. It’s not going to ask you that personal information. It’s going to ask generic stuff like how many people are in your household," says Angela Guth, president of the Better Business Bureau Lake Charles.

When census takers show up to ask these questions, ask for a photo ID or badge to ensure they work for the census bureau. Look for the U.S. Department of Commerce Seal and for the expiration date.

“They’re going to have an official badge. Their badge is going to have the watermark of the US Department of Commerce on it, it’s going to have an expiration date on it, it’s going to have their license number on it. Additionally, they’re going to have some sort of laptop, they’re going to have a cell phone which will also have a watermark on it," Guth says.

The bureau will NOT ask for your full social security number, bank account numbers, money, or donations. They will not ask for citizenship status, either.

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