Be aware of imposters posing as 2010 U.S. Census workers

With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau is advising people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft.

The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country.

Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race and other relevant data.

How do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice:

? U.S. Census workers who knock on your door 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. But you should never invite anyone you don?t know into your home.

? Census workers currently are knocking only 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.

While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, the Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail or in person at home. But the Census Bureau will not contact you by e-mail, so be on the lookout for e-mail scams impersonating the Census.

Never click on a link or open any attachments in an e-mail that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit 10306 or

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