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Avoid Census/Tax Scams

August 19, 2009 · 1 comment

It’s time for the Census!

According to best estimates, there are 307,216,361 people in the US as of the publishing of this blog entry. The ticker on the US Census web site was plugging along quite nicely as I was writing, so chances are, there will be a few hundred more by the time you see this post. To get the most accurate numbers, we depend on the official US Census.

The Census is taken every ten years. The first one was taken in 1790 and the next one will be in 2010. The Census is mandated by the Constitution and participation is mandatory.

Of course, mandatory participation means that, like taxes and other government programs, there are unscrupulous folks out there trying to take advantage of people. In other words, scammers are on the rise.

Be smart and remember a few things:

1, The Census Bureau will mail or deliver questionnaires to your house in March 2010.

2, An official US Census worker will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see ID before answering any questions.

3, An official US Census worker will verify address and other demographic information. Do not give out your Social Security number, credit card or banking information – this is not needed for the Census.

4, Census workers will not contact you via email. They may call, visit or send you something in the US mail but they will not contact you via email.

5, The IRS and the US Census Bureau are separate entities. An official US Census worker will not ask you about your tax returns or other confidential tax information. Additionally, the US Census does not have access to your confidential tax information – any claims made regarding taxes owed or other inconsistencies will not be raised by a US Census worker.

To steal a line from one of my mom’s TV favorite shows, “Let’s be careful out there!”

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