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Avoid ID theft during the 2010 U.S. Census

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- According to C. N. Le, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, "...an accurate count of the U.S. population forms the basis for many important but often-overlooked political, economic, and social decisions that are made that end up affecting our daily lives." This is why it is important to participate in the upcoming 2010 U.S. Census.

According to the census Website, http://2010.census.gov, "census information affects the numbers of seats your state occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives."

People from many walks of life use census data to advocate for causes, rescue disaster victims, prevent diseases, research markets and locate pools of skilled workers. In fact, the information the census collects helps to determine how more than $400 billion of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services like hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, emergency services, bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects.

Not only is it important to participate in the census, it is equally important to protect yourself against ID theft, a real threat during the census.

According to the Better Business Bureau Website, http://www.bbb.org, "the 2010 Census is nearly under way, but don't expect an e-mail from the U.S. Census Bureau asking you personal questions in its head count of America. If you do get one, it's a scam. The Census Bureau stresses that it will not request personal information from you via e-mail, such as PIN codes, passwords, Social Security numbers, credit-card numbers or other financial account information."

What about the census workers that are going door-to-door? How do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and someone trying to steal personal information? Again, the BBB has the answer.

"If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home. Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census. Remember, no matter what they ask, you really only need to tell them how many people live at your address."
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