Fake census forms, Don't give out your personal information

By Evrod Cassimy - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A warning tonight about the 2010 census. Some scammers are still trying to trick you into giving up personal information.

Ruth Ann Furlow says a couple weeks ago she filled out the census and dropped it back in the mail, but she felt a little funny about some of the information she was asked to give.

"My name verification, address, age, sex, color, and it asked for my social security number and signature," said Ruth Ann.

Ruth Ann was not born yesterday. She's seen members of her family become victims of identity theft, and she knows what information she should protect.

"I did think that was kind of odd because what I'd always been told from various legal people that actually the only one you should give your social security number to is the federal government," she said.

So when the federal government--or who she assumed was the federal government asked for that info...she gave it.

"Filled it out, stuck it in the envelope and mailed it with everything else that day," Ruth Ann said.

But when she learned there may be fraudulent census forms circulating she thought maybe that wasn't such a good idea, so she made some phone calls to the Census Bureau.

"They said they never ask for your signature or your social security number," she said.

And now someone has all of the above from Ruth Ann. It's the latest in a long line of scams aimed at getting a hold of your identity, but this scam may have the potential to take even the savviest folks to the bank.

"People are afraid what's going to happen if they don't fill out the census, that's your civic duty and they're gonna do it and then months, years down the road they've got a lousy credit rating and there are bill collectors at your door. You've just got to protect yourself," said Du Quoin Police Chief Mike Ward.

Now Ruth Ann is running interference...making phone call after phone call to credit bureaus, banks and prosecutors trying to protect her good name before a scammer takes advantage of it.

"It's been six hours worth and it's not over yet," she said.

As with anything else, no matter who calls you, sends you a form, or knocks on your door asking for information--don't give out your social security number. And if it seems fishy it probably is.

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