Beware of Phony Census Workers
This year the United States Census Bureau will be conducting its regularly scheduled census. Every address in the United States will receive a census form and census workers will be sent to those who do not respond. Unfortunately, con artists may be taking the opportunity to run scams. Here are some tips for avoiding a census related scam.
Ask for identification.
If someone comes to your door claiming to be a census worker, ask for their badge from the Census Bureau. They should also have a handheld computer and a Census Bureau bag. There should also be a confidentiality agreement because it is illegal for census workers to reveal information specifically about you. Before you answer any questions you should make sure that the person is legitimately working for the Census Bureau.
Look out for suspicious questions.
Census workers should not ask you for your Social Security number, credit card numbers, or any kind of banking information. They may ask questions such as race, gender, household income, and education, but any questions that may lead to identity or financial theft would be a warning sign that you are dealing with a scammer.
Keep strangers out.
If someone comes to your door claiming to be a census worker, you do not have to let them in. You should make sure that you are comfortable and safe first. If the person at your door is a real census employee then they should not mind taking your answers down outside. Scammers and other criminals may be more pushy to get into your house.
Avoid forged emails.
The Census Bureau is conducting their business by telephone, mail, or in person. If you receive an email claiming to be from the U.S. Census Bureau, then chances are it is fake. Do not open any attachments in these emails or click links and give out your passwords via these emails.
Do not give out money.
Apparently there are scammers that are using the name of the Census Bureau to solicit donations. Filling out the census form should not cost you any money. It is not an application of any sort and census employees would help you fill out the forms for free.
The best way to make sure that a census worker will not knock on your door is to mail back the simplified census form. As always, you should be vigilant to protect yourself and your family.