The Census is starting up again, and the Better Business Bureau wants to remind people to use reason and caution when answering the door. You’re required by law to answer Census questions, but scammers may pose as legit Census workers and take advantage of the situation. “Law enforcement in several states have issued warnings that scammers are already posing as Census Bureau employees and knocking on doors asking for donations and Social Security numbers.” Here’s how to identify a real U.S. Census worker.
- They will have identification.
Real U.S. Census workers at your door will have all of the following:
- a badge
- a handheld device
- a Census Bureau canvas bag
- a confidentiality notice
The BBB says, “Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.”
- They will only ask certain questions.
“Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information,” notes the BBB. “Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, it will not ask for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers nor will employees solicit donations.”
- They will not use email. Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail or in person at home. However, they will not contact you by e-mail, so be on the look out for e-mail scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an e-mail that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.
- The males have a bright red stripe on their bottoms.
No, wait. That’s something else entirely.
(Photo: Ol.v!er [H2vPk])