Watch Out for Phony Census Takers
The 2010 Census is underway and you may have already received your census forms in the mail. However, consumers need to be wary of con artists who pretend to be Census takers but are really out to steal personal information or commit some other type of fraud. The Census is administered only through the mail and in person. The Census Bureau does not conduct the Census online or by email. It does not ask for your Social Security Number, PIN codes, passwords, or similar access information for credit cards, banks, or other financial accounts. The Census Bureau will never send you an email inviting you to complete a census form online. This type of email scam is referred to as phishing. The Census form will never ask for money or any type of donation.
The Census form has 10 questions. The form asks for name, gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship, whether you own or rent your home, who is in the home at the time you are completing the form, and your phone number. Any form asking for information other than these data elements is not genuine. If you get an email or visit a website that could be misrepresenting the Census Bureau or the 2010 Census:
- don’t reply or click any links within the email,
- don’t open any attachments because they may contain a virus that could infect your computer,
- report it to the FTC at ftc.gov or call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or
- forward the email or website URL to the Census Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org, then delete the message.
For more information
- FTC: How the Census works and how to avoid and report scams
- The Consumerist: Is That Person At Your Door A Real Census Worker?
- 2010 Census
Posted April 6, 2010