North Texas leaders are excited about a growing population in the 2010 Census, but also concerned about misinformation spread by e-mail and blogs.
Last year, the Better Business Bureau issued an alert about the possibility of fake Census workers seeking personal financial information to rip people off.
Most residents will receive a short, 10-question form to be returned by mail.
“We do not ask Social Security, we do not ask for credit card information,” said regional Census official Henry Tow.
But the Better Business Bureau now reports that its initial alert is being distorted in widely circulated e-mails and blogs.
Among other things, they falsely state that just two answers are required on the 10-question form, said Dallas BBB spokeswoman Jeannette Kopko.
“And this could make some people give pause and resist returning the form, which then would mean that the Census workers would have to come in person,” Kopko said.
Tow said real Census workers will carry proper identification.
“I would stop if you think you’re uncomfortable,” Tow said of Census worker visits which will happen this year. “Do not give information. Call your local Census office manager to verify that this person truly works for us.”
Kopko urged residents not to rely on e-mail and blog information about the Census.
“Go directly to the Census Bureau or to the BBB to make sure you’re getting the real information,” she said.
Local leaders cheered at Tuesday’s ribbon cutting of a new Census office in Duncanville.
“We need more money,” said KKDA Radio host Willis Johnson. “We need more streets. All that is important. So please, emphasize the significance of being counted.”
Dallas City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano said a complete count of the current Texas population in the 2010 Census could bring the state a windfall of additional federal dollars and up to five more seats in Congress.
“This is the time to get active,” Medrano said. “This is the time that we need everyone on the streets, everyone at the churches speaking.”
Around 2,000 Census workers will be hired in Dallas County alone for the head count.