The United States Census happens once every decade.
This year, census takers will be going door to door to retrieve information, and experts are anticipating that scammers may try to take advantage of the process.
The Census Bureau, like the Better Business Bureau, and many other organizations, has its fair share of impostors and they can be hard to spot.
The Census Bureau is already asking for such personal information, so how are consumers or businesses to know how much is too much?
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “The census is only done every 10 years by the Census Bureau which is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and for that, census takers have to go out and get information and a lot of that is personal information so we do anticipate scammers trying to take advantage of that and steal consumers information.”
There are only three ways to reply to the census; by phone, mail or online.
“There are people that go house to house wanting information. Those people will always have a Census Bureau Badge with an ID, a laptop, and the equipment that they need to collect the census information, but we know that scammers are going to take advantage of that and try to steal consumers’ information as well,” Babin added.
The Census Bureau may request information through almost all communication outlets, including phone, email, mail, fax and in-person.
“They do take a lot of personal information,” explained Babin. “That’s to be included in the census and get some accurate data for the Census Bureau to collect. However, they will never ask for your full social security number.
They’ll never ever ask for a bank or account number. They’ll never ask for your mother’s maiden name. A lot of that information you can still keep closely guarded because the Census Bureau only needs your name and a couple of household information items.”
Here are some tips to help you avoid Census Bureau Imposters:
- Never give out your social security number.
- Census takers will never contact you on behalf of a political party.
- Make sure you respond to the census through https://census.gov/, the official website they provide.
- If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by calling the government agency directly or checking the government agency’s website.