KSL INVESTIGATES

KSL Investigates: Keeping Your Info Safe During 2020 Census

Feb 12, 2020, 9:09 PM | Updated: Mar 2, 2020, 4:25 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In one month, the entire country will undergo a massive population count. The census happens every ten years to determine things like where resources need to go and how seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned.

Inevitably, these big national events bring scammers out of the woodwork. To make sure you don’t get ripped off or your identity stolen, KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt looked into what questions you can expect.

Census Online For The First Time

For the first time ever, census questions will be primarily answered online. Starting March 12, 2020, citizens will receive a letter in the mail with a unique PIN. You will be directed to visit My2020Census.gov, the official website of the questionnaire.

Susan Sharp is the Census Area office manager here in Salt Lake City. She said the census isn’t in the business of sending emails. If you receive an email claiming to be the census with a link, don’t click on it.

It’s likely a scam.

Susan Sharp with the U.S. Census talks with KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt.

“The only way you would get an email from the U.S. Census Bureau is if you’ve already been selected to hire,” Sharp said. “We’d send you emails about your upcoming training.”

The census also asks a variety of questions, including things like the name, age and profession of each individual in the home. There are lots of questions the U.S. Census will not ask.

“We will never ask for money. There’d be no reason to pay the Department of Commerce,” Sharp said. “No social security numbers, no credit card numbers, no bank account numbers. None of that sensitive information.”

Sharp said once the U.S. Census Bureau has your answers, they protect the information with encryption that is stronger than most banks. There is also a legal guarantee that personal information—like your name, address, and date of birth—will be kept private for 72 years.

U.S. Census At Your Door

If you do not respond to the questionnaire by this summer, census employees will follow-up by knocking on your door. How do you know it’s really a census employee?

“Our census employees will all be wearing a badge, and it’ll show their picture and have their name,” Sharp said. “It’ll have an expiration date of how long their assignment is. They should have it on a census lanyard.”

U.S. Census worker sample badge.

In addition, census employees will carry an official U.S. Census bag with a shoulder strap.

Why Should I Take The U.S. Census?

Sharp said all U.S. citizens are mandated by the Constitution to participate in the census. If you don’t answer the survey, Sharp said census employees will continue to try and make contact, even trying to gather information from your neighbors on how many people might be living in your home.

“The census is important for two major reasons. One is it helps determine the seats in the House of Representatives that we have,” Sharp said. “But the second, more important one, I think for those of us in the community, is where the distribution of $675 billion gets parceled off, whether it be hospitals, roads, police, senior centers, daycares.”

Sharp also said it’s important to count children, who are frequently misreported in the census. She indicates all persons, regardless of citizenship, should count themselves in the census. The controversial question about U.S. citizenship was not included on this year’s questionnaire.

“It doesn’t matter the citizenship,” Sharp said. “If you think about it this way: I’m a student from a foreign country, and I’m studying at any one of our universities. But while I’m here, I’m also using our police departments, our roads, any of those kinds of services. So we need the count so we can get some of that money from the federal government.”

Non-personal census information is important to several government, nonprofit, and private sector companies as well. This data is used to determine things like school redistricting, or sales strategies in areas of growth.

You Ask, We Investigate. Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Shopping for Valentine’s roses? 9 comparisons to help you find the biggest bang for your buck

From online and local florist delivery options to grocery store blooms, KSL’s Matt Gephardt compares the cost and durability of nine different bouquets of a dozen red roses.
1 day ago
...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: How do you know if your donation really gets to those who need it?

Fundraising runs rampant on social media, but how do you know if your donation really gets to those who need it?
4 days ago
After a contractor got paid, customers say he stopped responding and walked off the job. (KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair

Felony charges for contractor accused of ripping off several Utahns

After a contractor got paid, customers say he stopped responding and walked off the job. A Get Gephardt investigation found this particular contractor has walked off so many jobs it could land him behind bars.
5 days ago
Christopher Browning in court....
Daniella Rivera & Keira Farrimond

Police were warned rapist could reoffend 24 years ago. Now he’s charged again.

A convicted rapist paroled in December faced a Utah judge today on 10 new felony charges including aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping.
6 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair

After new homes flood, residents question if builder or Mother Nature is to blame

Several new homes in a Lehi community flooded during rainstorms earlier this month. When they say the home builder told them they weren’t responsible, they decided to Get Gephardt to investigate.
7 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: The ‘most used’ photos to catfish victims in romance scams

KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt shows us some of the most widely used photos in romance scams and how we can protect ourselves.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
KSL Investigates: Keeping Your Info Safe During 2020 Census