A “strategic planning meeting” is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Hi-Tech Center on North High Street in Hillsboro with the expressed purpose of “getting the word out about the census.”
Co-chairs of the Highland County census effort, Virginia Purdy and Sue Smith, set up the Wednesday evening meeting for the expressed purpose of brainstorming ways to make the public aware of the importance of the once-a-decade constitutionally mandated endeavor.
“We’re inviting anyone who wishes to participate to come and help us identify ways that we can reach everyone so that we can have as accurate census count of Highland County as we can get,” Purdy said.
She said that Samuel Knight, partnership specialist from the Philadelphia Regional Census Center who is based in Chillicothe, will be present to lead the discussion on the dynamics of the census, and its importance to the region.
Purdy said participation in the census is vitally important to the county, adding that “with the stroke of a pen,” Greenfield went from city to village status as a result of the 2010 census.
Hillsboro City Council member Patty Day will be heading up the census undertaking for the city of Hillsboro, serving as chair for the census in addition to her other duties as chair of the council’s zoning and annexation committee.
She said that she would be in attendance at the Wednesday night meeting representing the city’s interests in an accurate census.
“This is about the funding for our roads, our medical programs and so much more,” she said. “It’s affects our lives here, and it even affects how many people we get to represent us in government.”
National Census Day is April 1, and the Better Business Bureau warned people in a news release to be on the alert to scammers posing as census workers.
“This year, census takers will be going door to door to retrieve information, and the BBB is anticipating that scammers may be out in full force in an attempt to take advantage of those responding to the census,” the agency said.
The marketplace advocacy group reminded people that there are only three ways to respond to the census — by phone, mail or online.
Census information will be requested through almost all communication outlets, they said, including phone, email, mail, fax and in-person, and some of the information they ask for could be deemed somewhat personal.
However, the BBB pointed out that the Census Bureau will never ask for a full Social Security Number, money, donations, soliciting support for a political party, complete bank or credit account numbers, or a mother’s maiden name.
To avoid being scammed:
• Never give out your Social Security Number. Census takers will never ask for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, money or donations.
• Census takers will never contact you on behalf of a political party. If someone calls on behalf of a political party that claims to be from the census, hang up.
• Respond to the census through Census.gov, the census’ official website. Your Regional Census Bureau may also be able to help.
• Don’t click on any links in an unexpected email. Enter the official URL (Uniform Resource Locator) census.gov or 2020census.gov into your browser, or do a web search to find the right website.
• Don’t click, download, or open anything that comes from an anonymous sender. This is likely an attempt to gain access to your personal information or install malware on your computer.
All census workers will carry a government-issued laptop or cellphone, as well as a bag with the Census Bureau logo on it.
If a census taker comes to your door, the BBB said to ask to see their ID badge, since they are required to carry and present a field badge that includes a photograph of themselves, a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date.
Purdy said the Wednesday night meeting will help to address ways to reach what she called the “unreachable, those that due to a lack of understanding or the fear that ‘big brother’ is watching,” have either little interest in the census or are suspicious of giving their personal information to the government.
For those that have questions, the Census Bureau said a toll-free call to 800-923-8282 will enable one to speak with a local representative.
The official website of the U.S. Census is census.gov and the homepage for the 2020 census is 2020census.gov.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.