Getting Region 8 ready to fill out census forms

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) "It is an actual headcount of the people who live in the country and where do they live," said Partnership Specialist with the United States Census Bureau, Gary Underwood.

The numbers determine how many seats each state has in the United States House of Representatives.  In addition, the numbers help determine the amount of federal money each state gets too.

"We've been doing it since 1790....every ten years," said Underwood.

Underwood says the forms will be in your mailbox, on your door, or brought to your door by a census worker. He says there is little telephone contact.   Officials say they only call people if questions were left unanswered or a clarification needs to be made.

"We do not do anything online at this point, we will not do anything by email at this point in this census," said Underwood.

Officials from the Arkansas Attorney General's Office warn that scam artist may try and pose as  census workers to get personal information.   There are things people need to keep in mind to help avoid becoming a victim.   People are being urged to fill out and send the forms off before April 1st.  The census forms do not ask for personal information like social security or financial numbers--so don't give them to anyone.  If someone comes to your door claiming to be a census worker, make them prove it.   Ask for I-D or a phone number to call to confirm they are in fact with the census bureau.  Officials urge people to be suspicious of emails from people saying they represent the census bureau, and of course, report anything suspicious.

"We'll be glad to check anything out for anybody who brings it to our attention," said Deputy Attorney General, Jim DePriest.

Gary Underwood says census bureau employees cannot share the answers on the forms with anyone including the IRS, FBI, or CIA.

"We are mandated by federal law to keep the information that people give on their census absolutely protected and confidential.   The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000.00 or imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both.

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