Be cautious about giving out personal information. With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft.

This year 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.

So how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? Here’s some advice from the BBB:

  • If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a hand-held device, a Census Bureau canvas bag and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their I.D. and their badge before answering their questions.
  • Never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.
  • Do not give your Social Security Number, credit card number, or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census. While the Census Bureau may ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, it will not ask for Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, or bank information.
  • U.S. Census workers will not solicit donations.
  • Census workers may contact you by phone, mail, or in person. However, they will not contact you by email, so be on the lookout for email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit To read more about why the U.S. Census is important, click here.