Every 10 years, the United States Census Bureau surveys how many people live in the United States. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers and many others use to deliver daily services, products and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other resources based on census data.

By now, you should have received an invitation in the mail to participate in the census. It’s important to participate because it affects the amount of funding your community will receive. You will only receive one 2020 Census packet per household. Participating in the census is required by law, and this year will be more accessible than ever. This year is the first year to allow all U.S. households to reply online.

Most of the information requested in the census asks basic information, such as how many individuals live in your household. The Census Bureau will never ask for your social security numbers, financial information, money, donations or questions about your political party. If you receive any questions like this, do not answer and call your local law enforcement. Scammers will look for any way to take advantage of victims during the Census collection time.

It is essential to know the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation. Many scammers will use phishing emails as an attempt to gain access to your personal information. However, Census Bureau representatives do go door-to-door collecting responses. If a representative comes to your door, look for a valid identification badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date. If you have doubts about their identity or someone is asking for personal information, call 800.923.8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If they do not have their information on file, report the incident to the police.

To view all 2020 Census Bureau questions and other information, visit https://2020census.gov/en. The deadline to complete the 2020 Census has been extended until October 31, 2020.