Watch out for U.S. Census scams!

November 7, 2019

 

Watch out for U.S. Census scams!

 

The big United States census happens once every 10 years, on years ending in zero. The next census is scheduled to take place in 2020. Unfortunately, scammers can use this as an opportunity to steal your personal information.

Census scams are simple: the scammers pose as U.S. Census Bureau workers and ask questions to try to get your personal information. There are various ways scammers can do this, such as sending fake surveys in the mail, setting up fake websites to pose as the real Census Bureau, calling on the phone, or even knocking on doors.

The real U.S. Census Bureau does ask for personal information, such as the full names and dates of birth for every household member. But the Census Bureau will NOT ask questions about how much money is in your bank account, credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords, income, your mother’s maiden name, what time you leave for work and return from work, or other questions where the answers might prove useful to burglars or identity thieves. The Census Bureau will NOT ask for money, donations or anything on behalf of a political party.

 

If you think something might be a census scam, call the Census Bureau at 800-354-7271 (English) or 800-833-5625 (Spanish).

 The official U.S. Census website is https://www.census.gov/

 

If you are contacted about the Census, please take the following steps to protect yourself. Below are tips for Census contacts involving (A) mail, (B) phone, (C) home visits, and (D) email.

 

  A. If you receive mail regarding the U.S. Census:
  • Check that the return address is in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
  • If you are not sure whether the letter or form is legitimate, call our Regional Census Bureau Office at 800-424-6974 to verify. 
  • If there are any websites listed in the letter, check to make sure the web address is legitimate. It should include “https://www.census.gov.”
  95% of households will receive their census invitation by mail.
   
  B. If you receive a phone call regarding the U.S. Census:

Most Census Bureau calls come from one of the following numbers:

  • (812) 218-3144, Jeffersonville Contact Center
  • (520) 798-4152, Tucson Contact Center

The caller will identify themselves and the name of the census survey. If they are unable to reach you, they will leave a message with a case ID associated with your census survey.

To verify that a number is from the Census Bureau, you can call the National Processing Center at one of the following numbers:

  • 1-800-523-3205   Jeffersonville, IN
  • 1-800-642-0469   Tucson, AZ
  • 1-800-923-8282   Customer Service Center
  • 1-800-877-8339   TDD/TTY
You can also contact the National Processing center if you have a question about a letter or form you received or if you need to return a call about a U.S. Census survey. 
   
  C. If someone visits your home with a survey:

Less than 1% of U.S. households will be counted in person by a census worker. This is usually done in very remote areas. If someone visits your home, below are some ways you can verify that they are a legitimate U.S. Census Bureau worker.

  • ALWAYS check first to be sure the person has a valid U.S. Census Bureau ID badge.
    • The official photo ID badge contains their name, their photograph, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • A field representative will have an official bag with the Census Bureau logo or a laptop for conducting the survey.
  • The field representative will provide you with a letter from the Census Bureau on official letterhead that explains why they are visiting your home.
  • Field representatives work from 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
  • You can ask the field representative to provide you with their supervisor’s contact information and/or the phone number for your Census Bureau Regional Office.
               
 If you are unsure of whether a Census visit is legitimate, call the Regional Office at 800-424-6974 to verify!
   

 

Census Bureau Staff Search  

To verify that a person is a Census Bureau field representative, you can enter their name in the Census Bureau Staff Search at https://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/main/email.cgi. This is a database that lists name and contact information for all Census Bureau employees.

 Real Census Bureau employees will not get angry when you want to verify their identities before answering their questions.

 Real Census Bureau employees will not threaten to arrest you.

   
  D. If you receive an e-mail regarding the U.S. Census:
  • Do not reply, do not click on any links, and do not open any attachments!
  • Delete the message – the U.S. Census Bureau does NOT send emails.

 The U.S. Census will NOT send any surveys by email!

 It is always best to verify BEFORE you respond to any census surveys or requests.

 

 



 

 

 
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