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Privacy & Security

Protecting resident’s privacy and keeping data secure are important to the federal government, Pennsylvania AND Westmoreland County. Census answers can’t be used against an individual, and data security is managed by security experts operating at the highest levels.

Your census responses can never be used against you.
It’s the law.

  • Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot release any information that identifies you individually.
  • Every Census employee and contractor is sworn for life to always protect your information.
  • If they don’t, they can face a fine of up to $250,000 and/or up to 5 years in prison.

Your answers can only be used to produce statistics.

  • The census will be collecting basic information about the people living in your household. When completing the census, you should count everyone who is living in your household on April 1, 2020.
  • Your information contributes to the creation of statistics that help decide our representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • It also affects your state legislative district.
  • These statistics also inform how federal public spending is distributed.

Your information is protected from cyber-attacks, threats, and leaks.

  • The Census Bureau has a team of cybersecurity experts monitoring and protecting their technology.
  • It’s their legal obligation to keep your data safe.
  • The bureau’s cybersecurity meets the highest standards for protecting your information.
  • The bureau works with the federal intelligence cyber community and industry experts fully locks down your data and stays on top of the latest security threats and advancements.

Your answers are safe, no matter how you respond.

  • Regardless of how you respond to the census (online, by mail, by phone, or in-person), the whole process is designed with layers of security to keep your data safe and secure.
  • If you are answering the census online, just check to make sure the address begins with “HTTPS” and includes a lock symbol.
  • If you’re visited by a census employee, the technology they’re using to file your response has the same strong security controls and is fully compliant with the standards required for federal systems.

Protect yourself from scammers and fraud.

  • Do not respond if you are asked for your SSN, bank or credit card information, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party. The census will never ask you for any of these things.
  • If someone visits your home for the 2020 Census, check to make sure they have a valid ID badge with their photo, U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • If you suspect fraud, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.
  • If the worker isn’t with the bureau, call your local police department.