Beware of scam artists posing as census takers

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you haven't sent back your census form, be prepared for a knock on the door. Starting Saturday, census takers will begin going from house to house.

The effort is to make sure everyone gets counted. But how do you know that person on your porch is the real thing?

In this case, feel free to ask questions before you answer any. The real census workers follow strict rules about identification and procedure. Don't get taken in by fakes.

Richmond resident Jacqueline Starkes is prepared.

"I'm going to ask for a name, identification, and that ID should have census something on it," said Starkes.

Starkes has the right idea. Scam artists pretending to be census workers are already on the prowl.

"There have been people going into government complexes with census forms in their hands saying, 'I know you don't want to take 40 minutes to fill this out and so if give me $5 I'll fill it out for you and send it,'" said George Jamerson, Manager for the Richmond Census Office.

A legitimate census worker won't ask you for cash, credit card numbers, ID or, your social security number. They will ask your name, phone number, how many people live in your home, and your race. A real census taker will also have three items that will help separate them from a fake.

"A census badge, they'll give them a notice of visit form, and they'll be caring a census bag," said Jamerson.

If you're still not convinced the person at your door is a census worker -- pick up the phone.

"Tell us the person's name because he or she will give you their name - call us up and we'll verify it," said Jamerson.

A census taker will not show up to your home after dark, and will not ask to enter your house.

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