The next knock you hear on your door may be someone asking you to do a patriotic duty.
Census workers have begun home visits in Richmond County.
Many in the county can expect a knock to come since the census form wasn’t sent out to post office boxes, but only to those with a street address.
Even those who have mailed their form in may receive a visit, due to lag time in processing them.
Fayetteville Local Census Office Manager Al Howe explained workers began performing home visits over the weekend, and hope to wrap up Richmond County by the weekend of July 4, though it could take longer.
“Here’s what to expect,” Howe said Monday morning. “We’re trying to go in the late-afternoons into the evenings about 8 p.m. We won’t knock on anyone’s door after dark, and we won’t ask to come into your house.”
He said the amount of time required for a home census visit depends on the number of people in the home, but typically takes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
Heads of household will have 10 questions to respond to, while everyone else in the home will have seven.
“Basically, they will have the questionnaires with them, and they will ask people to fill them out,” Howe said.
He went on to explain census workers will be identifiable by the red, white and blue badge they wear, as well as the black bag with white embroidery and the census logo.
“We’ll never ask anyone for their Social Security number,” Howe said. “If the person would like to make a phone call to confirm the census taker is who they say they are, that’s fine, and you can also ask them to present identification.”
The phone number of the Census Local Office in Fayetteville is (910) 221-6290.
The Better Business Bureau said that despite years of advising consumers not to give out their personal information, they should respond to the census.
“Now, we need consumers to understand that there is no danger in cooperating with the U.S. Census,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy.
According to the BBB, the Census taker may ask for additional information like income, household expenses, employment, education and birth dates, because they are conducting a number of surveys at any given time. Any information offered will be kept confidential, and all U.S. Census workers had to successfully pass FBI background checks in order to be hired.
No one should be told they have to pay to participate in the Census.
The BBB has this advice to keep you safe:
1) Ask the Census taker for identification.
2) Do not let anyone who comes to your door into your home unless you know them. The Census survey is short and can be completed in a few minutes at your door.
3) Do not give out your Social Security number, credit card number or bank account information to anyone.
Each year, the federal government uses census figures to divvy up more than $400 billion in funding across the nation.
This money goes toward education, health care, social services, public safety, infrastructure, quality of life and other services.
The BBB also pointed out the cost to the federal government, and ultimately the taxpayer, is about $57 per household visit, so everyone is encouraged to work with the census and respond promptly.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.