The mass operation of counting every person within South Africa’s borders, the third and largest census of South Africa as a democratic country,  got off to a good start today.  It is scheduled to continue throughout the month until the end of October 2011.

"While most South Africans were asleep, some of the 120 000 enumerators completed the first stage of accounting for the population, targeting airports, truck stops, bed and breakfasts, hostels, hospitals and homeless people." 

This means that you may likely have someone, that you don’t know, knocking on your door…

Here are some tips on how to act safely and responsibly (from SMC – Census Security Management Consultants).
  1. If a Census worker knocks on your door, they will have an ID badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag and a confidentiality notice.
  2. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions.
  3. Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information.
  4. Do not give your identity number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the Census.
  5. Remember, no matter what they ask, you really only need to tell them how many people live at your address.
  6. They may ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, but you don't have to answer anything at all about your financial situation.
Identity theft and fraud is a major problem, on a global scale, and criminals often make use of government operations, like the National Census, to glean personal information from unsuspecting citizens.  The Census workers are not allowed to ask you for banking details, payments of any kind and will not attempt to contact you via email.  If this happens – it may be a scam and you should not indulge this behaviour.  Be cooperative but be cautious.

Make sure that you are ready and are not taken by surprise.  Inform your family, people who stay with you, and friends, so that they too are aware of these safety tips and don’t become a victim.