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Indiana Disability Rights Monthly Blog Series

Scams and the 2020 Census: What to look for to protect yourself. By: Addison Pollock,  Associate State Director of Advocacy and Outreach, AARP Indiana. February 14, 2020

 

With the 2020 Census approaching, it is important to protect yourself from census scams.

AARP Indiana and Indiana Disability Rights are teaming up to get Hoosiers the information they need to protect themselves against sneaky people pretending to be part of the 2020 Census.

“It’s important for Hoosiers to get an accurate 2020 Census,” Addison Pollock, AARP Associate State Director of Advocacy and Outreach, said. “Unfortunately, predatory fraudsters take advantage of a public process to make a profit.”

While this news might be intimidating, there are warning signs when a person is trying to defraud you – and there are even more ways to spot a fake. 

Here’s a quick list of Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to navigating the Census:

DO:

  • Do verify that a census taker who comes to your home is legitimate. They should have a Census Bureau photo ID badge (with a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date) and a copy of the letter the bureau sent you. You can also search for an agent’s name in the Census Bureau’s online staff directory.
  • Do confirm that a questionnaire you’ve received is on the Census Bureau’s official list of household or business surveys.
  • Do contact the bureau’s National Processing Center or the regional office for your state to verify that an American Community Survey or other census communication is genuine.
  • Do check that a census mailing has a return address of Jeffersonville, Ind., the site of the National Processing Center. If it’s from somewhere else, it’s not from the Census Bureau.
  • Do check the URL of any supposed Census website. Make sure it has a census.gov domain and is encrypted — look for https:// or a lock symbol in the browser window.

DON’T:

  • Don’t give your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, or bank or credit card numbers to someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau. Genuine Census representatives will not ask for this information.
  • Don’t reply, click links or open attachments in a suspicious census email. Forward the message to ois.fraud.reporting@census.gov. Don’t trust caller ID — scammers can use “spoofing” tools to make it appear they’re calling from a real Census Bureau number. Call the National Processing Center at 800-523-3205, 800-642-0469 or 800-877-8339 (TDD/TTY) to verify that a phone survey is legitimate.

 

To read more about the warning signs of census fraud and tips on how to spot census scams, visit https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/census.html.

To learn more, visit the Indiana Disability Rights’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/indianadisabilityrights/) on February 20 at 10 a.m. (EST) for an interview with AARP Indiana’s point person on census fraud, Addison Pollock.


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