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Census workers are verifying addresses in county

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By Becky Barnes

It could be the result of heightened awareness after last week’s banking scam in Harrison County. Whatever it is, Harrison County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve McCauley is pleased that residents are calling in about a stranger in their neighborhood. However, it’s all on the up and up.

McCauley said address verification has begun for the 2010 Census. Individual are canvassing the county recording addresses so that census questionnaires can reach every household next year.

And while McCauley advises that the census workers are legitimate, he cautioned residents to still take all the necessary precautions like asking for a badge or identification.

According to information from the Census Bureau website, each worker will have an official badge.

The workers may ask to verify a housing structure’s address and whether there are additional living quarters on the property. Legitimate census workers will not ask for bank or social security information.

McCauley advised residents not to give out any personal information such as bank or social security information. If they ask for that information, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 234-7135.

The census workers will be in the area through mid-July. They will have hand-held computers equipped with GPS to increase geographic accuracy.

“The primary goal of the census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place,” said Tom Mesenbourg, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “Because the census is used for reapportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the distribution of more than $300 billion in federal dollars every year to state and local governments, it’s essential to get this first step right.”

According to a press release, all census information collected, including addresses, are confidential and protected by law.

It is also by law that the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with the FBI, the IRS, CIA, Welfare, Immigration or any other government agency. No court of law or law enforcement agency can find out respondents’ answers. All Census Bureau employees, including temporary employees, take an oath for life to keep census information confidential. Any violation of that oath is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.