By now the majority of us have received our census forms in the mail. Every ten years our nation expends a tremendous effort to attempt to enumerate the citizens of our country. To many this represents a civic duty in order to facilitate the allocation of representatives in government, but to other it is simply an opportunity to con innocent people. Knowing what to expect during this census is your best defense against opportunistic crooks and scams.
The Census Bureau uses a workforce of trained federal employees to conduct a variety of household and business surveys by telephone, in-person interviews, through the mail, and in limited cases through the Internet. If you are contacted for any of the following reasons — Do Not Participate. It is NOT the U.S. Census Bureau.
‘Phishing’ is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, social security numbers, bank account or credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing is typically carried out by email and it often directs users to enter sensitive information at a fake web site whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.
- The Census Bureau does NOT conduct the 2010 Census via the Internet
- The Census Bureau does not send emails about participating in the 2010
Census The Census Bureau never:
- Asks for your full social security number
- Asks for money or a donation
- Sends requests on behalf of a political party
- Requests PIN codes, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
If you believe you have been contacted as part of bogus or fraudulent activity falsely representing the Census Bureau:
If You Believe It Is An In Person Scam
- Check for a valid Census ID badge
- Call your regional office to verify you are in a survey
For Email Scams
- If you think it is a bogus email, do not reply or click on any links within the email.
- Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain code that could infect your computer
- Forward the email or web site URL to the Census Bureau at ITSO.Fraud.Reporting@census.gov.
- After you forward the email to us, delete the message. You will not receive a confirmation email after forwarding the information to us. However, the Census Bureau will investigate the information and notify you of its findings.
For Mail Scams
- Contact the United States Postal Inspection Service
Is your survey legitimate?
You may further verify if a collection activity is legitimate by calling your regional census office regarding mail surveys, and the National Processing Center for phone surveys. Other questions may be answered through our Are You In a Survey? page.
The best way to protect yourself from Census con-artists is to educate yourself on the process that the Census Bureau uses. For more information go to http://www.census.gov.