2020 Census Scams

This year, 2020, marks the year for three major happenings in the United States: the Census, the 2020 presidential election, and the implementation of REAL ID. Scammers will utilize this opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting Americans. The 2020 Census can be the most dangerous to unsuspecting people since as Americans, we are required by law to participate.

Officially, April 1, 2020, is the United States Census Day, which comes around once every ten years. The purpose of the census is to accurately represent a geographic area so that it has appropriate school funding, representation in Congress, and even for scientific and social research. Therefore, having an accurate account of what each geographic area has to offer when it comes to population statistics is very important.  So often it can feel like the process is invasive and tedious. The census questionnaire may ask you questions that you don’t feel like anyone should know like: What’s your household income? How many children do you have, and what are each of their respective ages? How many cars do you own? How many TVs are in your home? Each of these questions is important for the census but can also be used by scammers to gather private information about you.

Scammers can and will use the 2020 Census as a guide when it comes to gathering personal information about people for the purpose of eventually stealing their identity. It is suspected that scammers will do anything to gather this personal information about you and your family, so it’s essential to stay vigilant when it comes to decisions about sharing this personal information.

Here Are a Few Things You Should Know

The official website for the 2020 Census is specific: 2020census.gov. However, scammers may create what is called a spoofed website that is eerily similar to the real website’s URL so that they can collect personal information with your trust. The scammers may create a website with the domain of 2020census.com. Notice, there’s not a .GOV ending to the URL. Always make sure that you know it’s a government-owned website by looking for the .gov ending.

The Census Bureau will never call you to request information. If they had to call every household in the United States to gather information, they wouldn’t be finished for the next ten years. Regardless of what your caller ID says when the phone rings, the Census Bureau will never call you, nor will they email you a link. If you receive an email from the Census Bureau, that’s a scammer – avoid even opening that email.

In some cases, paid volunteers for the Census Bureau will knock on doors to help with the process of taking the 2020 Census. They may come to your door, but they will never ask for your Social Security number, bank statements, or credit card numbers. Nor will these official census takers ask for any form of payment for their time or the postage for their forms. They will only ask you the basic questions that are already on the census form.

In the past, some people have experienced scammers that threaten to have the police come to the would-be victim’s home if they do not provide the information that the scammer is seeking. Remember, the Census Bureau will never call you for this information, so, if they do, that’s the first sign that the person on the other line is a fraud. And although it is required by law that you fill out the census form, police will not be sent to your home if you fail to do so; the police are too busy with other, more serious types of crimes.

A Few Quick Takeaways

The Census Bureau will never call you, they will never threaten you with contacting the police, and they will never request any form of payment from you. If you keep these three things in mind, you should be able to keep your personal census information in the right hands.

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