Avoiding census scams

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Census time is also prime time for thieves posing as legitimate government workers - when they're not. There are some facts you need to know to spot a scammer from a real census worker.

Your census form will arrive in your mailbox, in March; only one per household. When you get yours, you will only be asked for your name, age, gender, race, phone number, people living with you, and whether you own your home.

They might want to know your salary, but they would never solicit money for the count. A scammer would:  here's a warning from the BBB.

"What people need to be looking out for are people who may knock on the door and say they're with the census. They start asking for financial information, social security numbers, and any kind of personal information. Census workers aren't going to ask for that," said Reanna Smith-Hamblin of the Better Business Bureau.

A real census worker is easily identifiable with all the government markings they carry.

"A real census worker would be identifiable by this badge. He or she may also be carrying a canvas bag that bears the census bureau logo," said Karen Hawkins, U.S. Government Census worker.

Census workers will never ask for, credit card or bank information. A scammer would, it's their way of stealing your identity. Census workers will never ask for your social security number and, you will never be contacted by e-mail. So if you get one, delete it.

If someone does show up at your door, and you want to check them out: call, 1-800-331-7363. If you get a phone call, and you want verification: call 1-800-392-6975.

The census happens every 10 years. If you don't answer the questions, like the law requires, you will get a knock on your door, and a face-to-face visit from a census worker.

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