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Warning about census-related scams
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The U.S. Census Bureau is warning about census-related scams. In 2010, all households should receive legitimate census surveys. According to the agency, it uses a workforce of trained federal employees to conduct a variety of household and business surveys by telephone, in-person interviews, through the mail, but only in limited cases through the Internet and NEVER by email.
The bureau is alerting consumers that they may be targeted for fraudulent or false data collection efforts by email, in person or by mail.
Emails purporting to be from the U.S. Census Bureau are not official and may well be phishing scams. Phishing is an illegal effort to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, social security numbers, bank account or credit card details by sending emails that purport to be from a trustworthy entity. Phishing emails typically connect to fake web sites that look identical to legitimate sites. Forward the emails to the Census Bureau, then delete them immediately and do not click on any links in the email. See below on how to forward the email to the Census Bureau.
According to the Census Bureau:
- It does NOT conduct the 2010 Census via the Internet.
- It 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 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 viruses, malware and malignant codes that could harm your computer.
- Forward the email or web site URL to the Census Bureau (see below).
- After you forward the email, delete the message.
In person scammers
Before allowing anyone into your home, or providing any information to door-to-door canvassers:
- Check for a valid Census ID badge.
- Call your regional office to verify you are in a survey.
Verify if a collection activity is legitimate by calling your regional census office regarding mail surveys. You can find this information in the government section of your phone book or at the official Census Site (click here). Check the page named, Are You In a Survey? by clicking here.
Residents who suspect a mail scam should contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
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