How to verify a U.S. Census worker

Updated: Aug. 23, 2019 at 10:53 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s almost time for the national headcount to start.

While we’re just months away from the 2020 Census, some folks are concerned that scammers are already trying to take advantage.

Several people in Homewood took to social media concerned about folks knocking on their doors claiming to be census workers.

One person posted Thursday, “I don’t think they have started yet! Be aware of people saying they are with the Census!”

We reached out to United States Census Bureau, who confirms they have begun the process.

“Address canvassing, the first field major operation, is underway,” said Chief Communications Officer Michael Cook.

According to Cook, Census employees or “listers” began walking neighborhoods around the country to verify addresses that cannot be confirmed through software and satellite images in August.

According to an official statement, the USCB created new software called the Block Assessment Research and Classification Application (BARCA).

“It compares satellite images of the United States over time, allowing Census Bureau employees to spot new housing developments, changes in existing homes and other housing units that did not previously exist.”

“We were able to verify 65% of addresses using satellite imagery — a massive accomplishment for us,” said Census Bureau Geography Division Chief Deirdre.

The other 35% of addresses have to be manually verified. This map shows which states are being actively canvassed.

“Every lister [Census worker] is expected to knock on the door and to verify that particular address and also inquire about additional housing units within that unit,” said Census representative Marilyn Sanders. “It is so important that we have a complete address list to mail out the questionnaire in March.”

To help identify a Census worker, ask to see their badge and briefcase - both will have the official Census logo. You can also ask for a picture I.D. to confirm the employee’s identity.

According to a spokesperson, address canvassing will continue through mid-October.

According to a Census rep, you should start receiving invitations to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail in March.

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