HOOD – Thieves impersonating census workers will try and steal your identity

Jackson, Miss.- The 2010 census is cranking up, and it is important for Mississippi citizens to be wary of thieves impersonating census workers in order to steal identities, cautions Attorney General Jim Hood.

The constitution requires that all residents of the United States be counted every 10 years. The data collected from each census, determines such things as which states and communities receive federal funding and the number of seats each state has in the United States House of Representatives.

“It is very important for all Mississippi citizens to be cooperative with census workers, but they should also be cautious of who they give personal information to,” said Attorney General Hood.

Census forms are first being mailed to each household in March 2010. The best way to avoid a personal visit from a census worker is to complete the census form and return it by the April 1, 2010 deadline. Census workers are required to visit addresses that have not completed the census form and mailed it back by the deadline. Those who return the form by the deadline will most likely NOT receive a visit from a census worker, although census workers are visiting some households to perform quality checks. These checks require that some households be visited more than once. Additionally, if you returned your form late, your response might not be logged before a census worker is sent out. The Census Bureau assures that before your household receives a mailed form, a phone call or a visit from their representative, you will be given a few days notice with a letter from the Census Bureau Director.

The following is a list of tips to remember when talking with census workers or completing the census form.

* Any request for census information from the Census Bureau will be clearly marked as coming from the U.S. Census Bureau and as OFFICIAL BUSINESS of the United States.
* All census workers carry official government badges marked with their name. You can also ask for a second identification to compare to the government badge. Never answer questions until you have seen the ID badge.
* Currently census workers are only knocking on doors to verify address information. No other information should be asked of you until March 2010 when the census forms are mailed.
* The Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or credit card numbers.
* Census workers will never under any circumstances ask to enter your home.
* Census workers will never ask for any information to be submitted online or through email.

To learn more about the census process, go to www.agjimhood.com , click on “about” and then “Census 2010”. To learn more about protecting your identity, click on “resources and links” and then “forms and publications” and take a closer look at the Identity Theft Handbook and Pamphlets. If you feel you have been a victim of identity theft, call the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-281-4418.