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How to spot a 2020 Census scam

What you need to know to not fall victim to identity theft during this year’s census

ROANOKE, Va. – The 2020 Census is around the corner and so are potential scammers. We’re working for you on what to look out for.

For some, it’s harder to spot a census scam because the census is only every 10 years and people may not be as familiar with the process.

The Better Business Bureau of Western Virginia said the biggest thing to remember is the Census Bureau will send you paperwork in the mail, no emails or phone calls.

Mail from the bureau should come from its center in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Also, the bureau isn’t asking for personal financial information.

Julie Wheeler, president of BBB Serving Western Virginia said, “The census is never going to ask for social security number, bank account number, mother’s maiden name, credit card numbers, they aren’t going to ask for any of that personal financial information that can be used for identity theft.”

Those fraud emails that you could be receiving could put malware on your computer and later lead to identity theft.

But here’s where it gets tricky, census workers do go door to door but so do potential scammers.

Here’s how you can tell if the person knocking on your door is legit or not:

  • Ask to see their ID and make sure it is real
  • Check the census website to verify a workers name
  • Worker shouldn’t be asking you for any payments
  • Worker shouldn’t be threatening you with any jail time

Wheeler said census workers go door to door to verify paperwork or if you have not returned your paperwork.

“It is required (by law) that you do it, you can be fined if you don’t do it they can’t put you in jail so if someone threatens you with that if you don’t provide the information it’s somebody who isn’t legitimately with the census” said Wheeler.

For a look at sample census questions, click here.


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