Knock, knock! It’s 2020 and that means it’s time for Census Bureau to conduct an official Census. You could be contacted in a variety of ways by the Census Bureau including, phone, email, mail, fax, and even in person. Given the many outlets that the Bureau uses, it opens up a myriad of scam opportunities.
Census Bureau scams can be hard to spot yet easy to fall for. Many people believe it’s their civic duty to participate, but how can you know who to trust and who are impersonators?
The first step in protecting yourself is knowing the official website of the Census Bureau, which is census.gov, and the homepage for the 2020 Census is 2020census.gov. It’s important to understand that some of the information the census takers request is personal, but they will NEVER ask for certain things.
You can avoid falling for Census Bureau Impostors by following these tips:
- NEVER give out certain personal information. Census Bureau representative will never ask for your social security number, bank account number, credit card number, money, or any donations.
- They aren’t affiliated with a party. Census takers do not represent any political party and will never call you on behalf of one. If they mention that they are, hang up.
- Only use the official website. When responding to any requests for information, make sure you respond to the census only through the official Census.gov website.
- If it seems fishy, verify it. If something seems odd or suspicious, verify the information by going directly to the official website for the census or by calling a trusted phone number other than the one provided to verify the information.
- Be wary the anonymous sender. Never open, click, or download anything that comes from an anonymous sender – just delete it.
- Generic information. The best way for a scammer to be successful is to cast a wide net and being very vague with their information. Scammers are relying on you to fill in the blanks and be forthcoming with information. If they are contacting you, they should already know your name, address, phone number, etc. Never offer up any personal information until they can verify that they know who they are calling and what they are calling about.
- Check the BBB Scam Tracker. Think you might be a target of a scam? You can check using the BBB Scam Tracker to look for local reports of imposters in your area.
You may encounter a census taker who is going door to door in your neighborhood to get the information they need. This is normal, but you should do several things to verify their identity before giving them any information.
- Ask for ID. Census takers must have a field badge that includes a photo, the Dept. of Commerce watermark, and expiration date. All 3 must be on the badge to be valid.
- Look for a logo. Census workers will have a Census Bureau issued cell phone or laptop as well as a bag with a Census Bureau logo on it.
- Call with questions. You can always speak to a local Census Bureau representative by calling 800-932-8282. They can verify if the person at your door is a Census Bureau representative. If they are not, call your local police.
Branch Manager – Torrington