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Watch out for census fakers

With the nation gearing up for its once-a-decade effort to count everybody, there’s a concern that some con artists may take advantage of the event to get access to personal information that shouldn’t be shared.

The Evanston Police Department today distributed a set of suggestions that originated with the Better Business Bureau about how to avoid such scams.

With the nation gearing up for its once-a-decade effort to count everybody, there’s a concern that some con artists may take advantage of the event to get access to personal information that shouldn’t be shared.

The Evanston Police Department today distributed a set of suggestions that originated with the Better Business Bureau about how to avoid such scams.

The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way with workers verifying the addresses of households across the country.

Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data.  

The big question is: how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist?

  • A U.S. Census worker who knocks on your door will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions, and never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.
  • Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census. Remember that no matter what they ask, you really only need to tell them how many people live at your address. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, you don’t have to answer anything at all about your financial situation.
  • The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. Any one asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau.
  • Eventually, census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by e-mail, so be on the lookout for e-mail scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an e-mail that is supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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