U.S. Census: Keeping the Census secure
Submitted by Kansas Counts
The U.S. Census occurs once every decade and the information gathered will inform U.S. citizenry, community and business decisions for the next decade. Knowing the Census impacts our lives politically, economically and socially — our participation is critical.
The U.S. Census Bureau wants every participant to have a quick, easy and safe experience. Here are some tips to help you have a smooth experience.
Be confident in your responses. The U.S. Census Bureau is legally required to keep your answers confidential, in fact, Title 13 of the U.S. Code says the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, even to law enforcement. The reason the Census Bureau guarantees this security is because our government, businesses and longevity as a country deeply rely on the data and statistics produced by the Census.
In the age of technology, we all have different levels of knowledge and comfort. When it comes to the handling of our responses to Census questions, the Bureau follows the best practices and all federal requirements to protect our information. Security is a top priority, and the IT infrastructure used to collect and process our data is designed to defend against cyber threats. While the U.S. Census Bureau is highly proficient in data protection and technology, we as participants may not be.
Tips to avoid scams
Do not fret if you are not entirely confident or sure how to spot scams, especially online. The U.S. Census Bureau has some tips. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines phishing as a practice used by scammers through text message or email to attempt to trick you into giving up your personal information. The U.S. Census Bureau makes it clear they will never send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. Furthermore, they will never ask for:
• Your Social Security Number;
• Your bank account or credit card numbers;
• Money or donations.
With these online safety tips in mind, the U.S. Census Bureau also wants you to stay safe at home. If you do not participate in the Census either online, by phone or by mail, a Census official called an enumerator will come to collect a response in person.
The Bureau wants you to feel confident and safe when interacting with Enumerators, so you can verify their identity in the following ways: check to make sure they have a valid ID badge that will have their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. If you are uncertain, you can call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.
As conveyed earlier, the data gathered through this process is important and informative to our government, businesses and citizens. That being said, if at any point in your Census experience you suspect fraud, call 1-800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.
The U.S. Census Bureau continuously emphasizes they want participants to have an easy, safe and secure experience. Your participation is key in helping the U.S. Census Bureau better understand our country and our needs.