Consumer Alert: New York State Division of Consumer Protection Issues Guidance to New Yorkers on Completing the Census
With Households Due to Receive Official Census Bureau Mailings This Week, New Yorkers Should Be Aware of Key Information
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) today issued guidance to New Yorkers to follow when completing the Census. From March 12-20, New York households will be receiving the official Census Bureau mailing with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.
“As we gear up to begin the count for the 2020 Census, we want to make sure all New Yorkers are armed with key information about the process to ensure a complete count,” said New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “Under the leadership of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, we are engaging with our hard-to-reach communities, helping to ensure every single New Yorker is counted and New York gets its fair share of federal funding. Completing the Census is safe and easy, and there are a variety of resources available to New Yorkers who may need additional help.”
Below is key information on the upcoming Census count for all New Yorkers to keep in mind when completing the Census:
Be Aware of Key Dates. Between March 12 and March 20, New York households will be begin receiving the official U.S. Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond. You should complete the Census questionnaire as soon as you get it. Once you complete the form, you cannot make any changes so you should complete the form to include everyone living in your home on April 1, 2020, Census Day. From May to July, Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.
Three Ways to Respond. There are three ways to respond to the 2020 Census: online, by phone or by mail. Households will receive information in the mail with detailed information on how to respond.
Questions Asked. The Census asks how many people are living in your house as of April 1, 2020. The Census will ask 10 basic questions: name; number of people living or staying in the home on April 1, 2020; whether residence is a house, apartment, or mobile home; telephone number (only to be used if needed for official Census Bureau business); sex; age; date of birth; Hispanic origin; race; relationship with other household members.
The Census will never ask for immigration status, social security numbers, money or donations, anything on behalf of a political party or for your bank or credit card account numbers.
Protecting your Data. The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. In fact, every employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your immigration status, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics.
U.S. Census Workers in your Neighborhood. You may see census takers, known as enumerators, in your neighborhood as they help conduct quality check interviews and collect responses to the 2020 Census. Census takers will start visiting some neighborhoods in April 2020 and will follow up with homes who have not yet responded online, by phone, or by mail from May through July. All census workers will identify themselves and carry an ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. They will only ask questions that are on the questionnaire.
Official U.S. Census Bureau workers will never ask to enter your home. They will never ask for money, threaten detainment or deportation, or request additional documentation.
If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:
Avoiding Scams Online: It is important to know that the U.S. Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. The use of any website that mentions being affiliated with the U.S. Census should be verified. The easiest way to verify the site is to check if address includes “.gov,” as only official U.S. and state government websites can use “.gov.” Fraudulent sites purporting to be official government service providers may steal personal information.
Reporting Suspected Fraud: If you suspect fraud, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department.
The New York State Department of State also offers the following resources to help New Yorkers:
Office for New Americans Hotline 1-800-566-7636: The Office for New Americans’ free hotline is available from Monday through Friday from 9AM to 8PM and can help new Americans in more than 200 hundred languages. Hotline experts assist eligible immigrants in connecting with a team of experienced immigration lawyers through the Liberty Defense Project, which provides free immigration law consultations to newcomers, and technical legal assistance to immigrant service providers across New York State. For more information on the Office for New Americans, visit the website at https://www.newamericans.ny.gov/. The Office can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSNewAmericans or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYSNewAmericans.DCP Consumer Helpline 1-800-697-1220: The DCP Consumer Helpline offers safe, direct assistance for any New Yorker who believes they have been treated unfairly while in the marketplace. To report suspected Census fraud or scams, call the DCP Consumer Helpline at 800-697-1220, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm or visit the DCP website at www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection. The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.