How to identify if a Census Bureau is legit
Citizens are required by law to respond to the U.S. Census Bureau’s requests for information and Census workers will be surveying the population to gather demographic information in the upcoming months. With identity theft prevalent and on the rise, you should use caution before disclosing any information to people you don’t know. Melissa Companick, President of the BBB of New Jersey has said, “Most people are understandably cautious about giving out personal information to unsolicited phone callers or visitors, but the Census is an exception to the rule. Scammers know that the public is more willing to share personal data when participating in the Census, so they take advantage of this opportunity by posing as government workers to get access to personal financial information.”
With this in mind, the BBB offers the following advice to help distinguish between bona fide Census workers and con artists so you will know who is actually knocking at your door:
1. U.S. Census workers will have identification, a handheld device and a confidentiality notice. Caution: never invite strangers into your home.
2. U.S. Census workers will not ask for your Social Security number or any information about bank or credit card accounts.
3. U.S. Census workers will not ask you for money or say that you owe money.
4. U.S. Census workers will not harass or intimidate you.
5. U.S. Census workers will not contact you by email. They will only contact you by phone, by mail or in person.
Keep these facts in mind when interacting with Census workers this season and you’ll be taking a proactive step in protecting your identity.