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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 03/16/2010

Tips for avoiding census scams

By Washington Post editors

With census questionnaires landing in mailboxes in the D.C. area this week, the Virginia State Police are offering these tips for avoiding census scams, The Post's Maria Glod reports.

* Census takers visiting your home will possess a special identification badge issued by the U.S. Census Bureau. Ask to see this badge if someone comes to your residence stating they are a census taker. If for any reason you are concerned about their identity, call the Regional Census Office for Virginia at 704-936-5300.

* According to the U.S. Census Web site, a “census taker will never ask to enter your home.” Therefore, be wary of anyone who identifies himself/herself as a census taker and insists upon entering your residence to conduct an interview. Refuse that individual entry and call the Regional Census Office or police.

* Official census takers can interview only individuals age 15 or older. They are not permitted to interview anyone younger than 15. If your child has been approached by an adult claiming to be a census taker, ask your child fully about the encounter and notify police.

* Census takers will never ask for bank account or credit card numbers or information. Such information has nothing to do with the 2010 Census.

By Washington Post editors  | March 16, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
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