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Census Bureau scams: Count me OUT

Posted at 10:20 AM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 13:57:26-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With the end of 2019 now in sight, a new decade approaches and with it, a new census.

The deadline for the decennial census (the national headcount done every ten years) is April 1, 2020. However, the Census Bureau also conducts more than 130 surveys each year.

Both provide opportunities for scammers who are looking to play the numbers game in hopes of finding someone to take advantage of.

To help you stay safe from census scams, the Better Business Bureau recommends that you remember to:

  • Verify identity. If someone approaches you in person or comes to your home claiming to be a census bureau agent, ask to see a valid U.S. Census Bureau ID badge. Also keep in mind that a genuine agent will never ask for your Social Security number, banking information or financial data. If someone asks you for this information, you are not participating in a legitimate survey.
  • Check the return address. If you receive a survey in the mail, notice where it is supposed to be sent once completed.. According to the Census Bureau’s official website, return addresses on legitimate census surveys will always be to Jeffersonville, Ind.
  • Stay calm. Participating in the census is required by law and failing to do so could result in a fine. However, you cannot be arrested or imprisoned for it, so stay calm if someone claiming to be a Census Bureau agent is threatening you with arrest for declining to share information.
  • Call the Census Bureau. If you are still unsure, you can contact your regional Census Bureau office for help. They can verify the legitimacy of a survey or agent. This information can be found at https://www.census.gov/about/regions.html.

To learn more, visit www.bbb.org.