BBB Cautions Consumers to be Careful Who You Give Information to During the 2020 Census
Written on December 31, 2019
Columbus OH (December 30, 2019)– The United States census happens once every decade and April 1, 2020, is National Census Day. This year, census takers will be going door to door to retrieve information and BBB is expecting scammers will be out in full force in an attempt to take advantage of those responding to the census.
There are only three ways to reply to the census; phone, mail or online. The official website of the Census Bureau is census.gov; the homepage for the 2020 Census is 2020census.gov.
Unfortunately, many individuals know that census callers will be talking to them and will give out any information they ask for. To ensure that no consumer gets scammed by fake callers and gives out sensitive information, your BBB has some tips to keep yourself protected:
.Never give out your social security number. Census takers will never ask for your social security number, bank account number, credit card number, money or donations.
.Census takers will never contact you on behalf of a political party. If someone calls on behalf of a political party that claims to be from the census, hang up.
.Make sure you respond to the census through the official website they provide.
.If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by calling the government agency directly or checking the government agency’s website. Don’t click on any links in an unexpected email – type the official URL into your browser or do a web search to find the right website. Call a trusted phone number other than one provided by the caller to verify the caller’s identity.
.Don’t click, download, or open anything that comes from an anonymous sender. This is likely an attempt to gain access to your personal information or install malware on your computer.
.Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of unsolicited messages that don’t contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.
There will be census-takers going door-to-door in some neighborhoods to help get all of the information they need. If a census taker comes to your door there are several things you can do to verify their identity:
.Ask to see their ID Badge. Census takers must present a field badge that includes a photograph of themselves, a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date.
.Census workers will be carrying a Census Bureau laptop or cellphone as well as a bag with a Census Bureau logo.
.If you still have questions, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.
If someone comes to your door that you suspect isn’t part of the Census Bureau, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department.
To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker and check bbb.org for more information on how to avoid scams.