Every ten years, the U.S. Constitution requires the United States Census Bureau to conduct a national census. This data is then used to determine the number of state representatives for each state, which has a direct effect on the Electoral College.
This census will use a variety of methods, such as phone calls, emails, and door-to-door representatives to retrieve Americans’ personal information. That means it’s ripe for scammers and identity thieves to surface in droves to “reap the harvest.”
2020 Census Bureau Scam
The Census Bureau employs the aid of thousands of local volunteers to help them conduct the census, so it’s difficult to determine if something is a scam–– especially if someone shows up at your door. Volunteers are required to show you their badge, but there’s still a chance the badges could be fake.
If someone contacts you claiming to be with the U.S. Census Bureau, and they ask you to provide your social security, Medicare, or credit card number, it’s more than likely a scam.
A Dallas man recently wrote his Medicare number on an official-looking U.S. Census form he received in the mail. Although the Census Bureau may ask if you have insurance, it will never ask you to provide your actual policy number.
How to Avoid the Census Scam
The real U.S. Census Bureau will begin sending out official letters to American citizens sometime in March. If someone has already contacted you claiming to work for the government, ignore them. Volunteers will not be deployed ahead of the Bureau’s schedule.
If someone visits you and says they are with the 2020 Census, see if you feel like something is off. You have the right to politely refrain from giving them information. You can provide it on the official website instead.
The United States Census Bureau recommends that people visit their website in order to verify the legitimacy of a survey. However, the safest and most secure way to complete the survey is to visit the Census Bureau website (www.census.gov) and enter your information directly.
Do not perform a Google search for “Census Bureau” or click any links provided in a text message or email. Doing so will play directly into the hands of online scammers. Type the address into your browser’s search bar instead.