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By Henrietta J. Burroughs                                  Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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December 29, 2019                    EPA Today Facebook page Follow epatoday on Twitter EPA Today Blog Icon



Photo of census worker
Photo courtesy of https://www2.census.gov/library/photos

The 2020 Census will not start in the U.S. officially until next spring – specifically on April 1, 2020.  But the scams around the census have already begun, leaving federal and local officials to get accurate information out about the census and about some of the scams that are already taking place.

But, what is fact and what is fiction?

Here are some facts that you need to know.

Ninety-five percent of U.S. households will receive a mailed census invitation from the federal government between March 12-20, requesting a response to the census. For this census, one can go online to complete the census questionnaire or to complete it by phone.

Five percent of households (for example, those who use PO boxes and those who were recent victims of natural disasters), will receive their census invitation when a census worker drops it off. Those living in very remote areas like parts of Alaska and Maine – estimated at less than one percent -- will have their census forms personally delivered by a census worker.

This year, responses to the census questionnaire can be made online, by mail and by phone. According to the Census Bureau, responses can be made in less than 10 minutes in a process that is described as easy and safe. Reminder letters can be expected between March 15 and March 24. Follow up reminder letters will be sent up to April 17.

Census bureaus across the country are currently recruiting for census workers, many of whom will be going door to door

Those who still have not responded can expect a personal visit by a census taker (also called a census enumerator)

Here are some things to watch out for:

If you receive a census invitation by mail, phone or email before March 12, 2020 disregard it.

Anyone visiting you from the Census Bureau should have a badge with their picture, an expiration date and a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark. If you have any questions about the person’s identity, call your Regional Census Center. For those in CA, the number is 213-314-6500 or 800-923-8282.

Census workers will not ask for your Social Security number or any part of it.

Census workers will not ask you for your bank account number, a credit card, any other financial information or any money at all, not even donations.

Census workers will not ask about your political preferences or whether you are registered to vote.
For more information, go to https://2020census.gov/en/what-is-2020-census.html To report or inquire about suspicious social media posts regarding the 2020 Census, contact the U.S. Census Bureau directly by email at rumors@census.gov

The author of this article, Henrietta J. Burroughs, can be reached by email at epatoday@epatoday.org