Consumer warning: Fake census calls

By Gray Hall - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – An alert if you get a call from the U.S. Census -- some of those calls may be for real, but others may not. The Census says it may contact some households to clarify answers given on its recent survey. If they do call, they say the questions will be limited only to information about the census form you filled out.

NBC12 told you to be on the lookout for criminals trying to cash in while pretending to be fake Census takers. They would go door to door and offer to fill out your Census form for five bucks.

"First of all people need to understand that the Census never asks for money -- we never ask for social security numbers, we never do anything by Internet and we will always identify ourselves with a badge like mine here," said Richmond's Census Office Manager, George Jamerson.

Now criminals are using the phone -- acting as Census Workers in hopes of stealing your money.

"The double edge sword here is that by us talking about it they can take advantage of it, but it's also important on the other side of that sword we know that it is happening lets assure the community that they are not being scammed if they do get a call," said Jamerson.

In this latest attempt to dupe the public, the shysters call you and tells you for $150 they can make sure your census is protected. A big problem -- the number that shows up on your caller ID may be a real Census number, but the caller on the other end is not the real deal.

"There is technology out there for people to do this but if you get a call and the Census ever asks you for money, don't bite. The census will never ask for money," Jamerson said.

The Census says in the next couple of weeks thousands of people may get real follow up calls -- here's what you should expect.

"We may make a call back to addresses but we will identify ourselves and we will never ask for anything other than your name, if a census worker has been there and the number of people living at your house," he said.

Bottom line, the Census will never ask for personal identifiable information like your Social Security Number, so never give it up.

"We need to assure people that the Census is not trying to get any money from you as a matter of fact coincidentally, the job of the census in Richmond is to get the city money for the services and educational purposes it needs," Jamerson said.

If you get a call from the census and you want to make sure it's legit -- you can call to confirm with the Census.

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