Better Business Bureau: Beware–Scammers might pose as Census takers

by | Aug 24, 2020 | Government

From The Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia:

The Census Bureau of the U.S., like many other organizations, has had its fair share of imposters. Knowing how the Census Bureau operates can help people not be scammed into giving up personal information, as well as being prepared when asked to participate by the Census Bureau. 

How the Scam Works:

The Census Bureau may request information through almost all communication outlets, including phone, email, mail, fax and in-person. There are only three ways to reply to the census: phone, postal mail or online. The official website of the Census Bureau is census.gov. The homepage for the 2020 Census is 2020census.gov

The Census Bureau may ask you by email to complete your census, but the request will come from this address only: [email protected].

The Census Bureau also announced they are ending field collection by September 30, 2020.

Some of the information census takers request is personal. But the Census Bureau states that they will NEVER ask for your full social security number, money, donations, anything on behalf of a political party, your full bank or credit account numbers, or your mother’s maiden name. 

BBB has the following tips to help you avoid Census Bureau Imposters:

·         Never give out your social security number. Census takers will never ask for your social security number, bank account number, credit card number, money or donations.

·         Census takers will never contact you on behalf of a political party. If someone calls on behalf of a political party that claims to be from the census, hang up.

·         Make sure you respond to the census through Census.gov, the official website, or respond to an official communication. Your regional Census Bureau may also be able to help.

·         If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by calling the government agency directly or checking the government agency’s website. Don’t click on any links in an unexpected email. Instead, type the official URL into your browser or do a web search to find the right website. Call a trusted phone number other than one provided by the caller to verify the caller’s identity. The U.S. Census Bureau may email you to ask you to complete your census, but it will come from this address only:  [email protected].

·         Don’t click, download, or open anything that comes from an anonymous sender. This is likely an attempt to gain access to your personal information or install malware on your computer.

·         Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of unsolicited messages that don’t contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information. Do not click on any links from suspicious emails. See our tips on avoiding phishing email scams.

·         Check this Census.gov page for the ways in which the Census Bureau WILL contact you, and check here to investigate any rumors that may be circling around. 

·         Check BBB Scam Tracker for local reports of imposters in your area.

Up to September 30, 2020, there will be census takers going door-to-door in some neighborhoods to help get information. 

If a census taker comes to your door, here are tips how to verify their identity: 

·         Ask to see their ID Badge. Census takers must present a field badge that includes a photograph of themselves, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. 

·         Census workers will be carrying a Census Bureau laptop or cellphone, as well as a bag with a Census Bureau logo.

·         If you still have questions, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department. 

For More Information:

Report a scam at BBB Scam Tracker and check BBB.org for more information on how to avoid scams.

Learn more information about the 2020 Census, visit the official website, 2020census.gov

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