Common Sense for the U.S. Census

No one likes to be scammed, especially at their front door.  Unfortunately, with the 2010 U.S. Census already underway, scams are occurring.  The Better Business Bureau shows how to help avoid it happening to you.

With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau, or BBB, advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft.

The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way, as workers have begun 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 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? The BBB offers the following advice:

If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, handheld device, Census Bureau canvas bag and confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you do not 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. While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, it will not ask for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers nor will employees solicit donations.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail or in person at home. However, they 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 are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit