As the 2010 census begins, the Colorado attorney general warns that scam artists could be posing as census workers – trying to steal personal information, commit identity theft or other crimes.

“I urge Coloradans to cooperate with legitimate census workers, but beware of those intent on using the census to commit identity theft,” said John Suthers. “The census is an important decennial tradition that will determine, among many things, the number of Congressional representatives Colorado will have for the next decade.”

Census workers will collect information: name, address, race or ethnicity, the type of home you live in, whether or not you own the home, your telephone number, the number of people living in your home and the relationship of the residents.

No census worker will ask for your social security number or personal financial information.

Residents will receive a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau before they are contacted in person. Workers are required to display their census bureau badge, tell you the name of the survey you are being asked to participate in and provide a copy of the letter.

Suthers also said people should not allow census workers – or anyone who comes to the door – inside homes. Often criminals will attempt to gain entry to a home to scope out its contents or plan a burglary.

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Consumers should also be wary of Web sites that request information on behalf of the census. The census is not conducted online or via e-mail.