All responses to the census are protected by Title 13 of the United States Code. The law makes it illegal to disclose or publish private information gathered in the census that would identify individuals or businesses, including addresses or telephone numbers.
Census Bureau employees are also sworn for life to protect your confidentiality. Violating the law is a serious federal crime punishable by a prison term of up to five years and fines.
How is My Information Protected?
Census questionnaires are safe. The data collected is used only to compile statistical information. Personal information can’t be shared with any court, government agency, law enforcement or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
All Census data submitted online is encrypted to protect personal privacy. Data is kept on a private, internal network behind firewalls.
Is it really from the Census Bureau?
To avoid scams here are ways to check that material is from the U.S. Census Bureau:
MAIL: All mail from the Census Bureau lists U.S. Department of Commerce offices in Jeffersonville, Indiana or Tucson, Arizona as the return address.
EMAIL: Census emails are sent from the URL census.gov and are encrypted. Check for a lock signal in the browser window. Do not reply to an unsolicited email claiming to be from the Census Bureau. Forward any unsolicited emails or website URL to the Census Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org for investigation.
CALLS: Verify a call from a Census Bureau employee by checking with the National Processing Center at one of the following numbers:
- 1-800-523-3205 Jeffersonville, IN
- 1-800-642-0469 Tucson, AZ
- 1-800-877-8339 TDD/T
To make sure a field representative is a Census Bureau employee, ask for a valid photo ID badge, which will have a Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date. Or you can ask to see a letter from the Bureau verifying the visit.
A field representatives ID can also be checked by calling the regional Census Bureau office at 1-800-852-6159, or searching the Census employee name on the following website https://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/main/email.cgi