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2020 Census Impostors

They’re already stalking door-to-door. Here’s how to tell the legitimate workers from the fakes. (Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

I received my 2020 Census package via mail back in March. Most of you did. Like me, most of you filled it out and sent it back (it took about 15 minutes to complete). For the rest of you, the U.S. Census Bureau will soon dispatch census-takers to your homes to gather the data the bureau needs. That data helps determine accurate representation of your state’s congressional districts, racial/gender/socioeconomic trends, need/qualification for federal aid, etc.

If you are anticipating a census-taker visit, be aware that the bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) anticipate impostors posing as census-takers, going door-to-door requesting information that a real census-taker will NEVER request. According to bureau sources, a real census-taker will NEVER request:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Money or donations
  • Anything on behalf of a political party
  • Your bank or credit card number

Another thing: real census-takers will no longer ask questions about your citizenship, although I think that would be relevant. Whatever…just so you know.

There are also signs during the census-taker’s visit that will reveal whether he or she is a real census-taker. According to the FTC, a REAL census-taker will:

  • wear a mask and follow your local city, county or state public health guidelines
  • carry a photo ID with an expiration date and the seal of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The census-taker should show you that ID when you ask for it. The census-taker should also provide you the name of his or her supervisor and the phone number of the regional census center that has jurisdiction over your area

If you’re not home when a census-taker visits, you may receive a follow-up email or a phone call from your regional center. Legitimate census bureau emails will come from this address: As for phone calls, the bureau put together a snappy page of how to identify legitimate census calls HERE.

Those of you who have followed me for a long time know well my stance on door-to-door surveys or sales calls. I HATE them. They are patently unsafe, both for the homeowner and for the visitor. Be assured that you never have to open your door to anyone. If a census-taker visits you while you’re home, first attempt to verify his or her credentials through a window by your door or some way that keeps a barrier between you and the visitor. If you’re uncomfortable, tell the visitor so. A legitimate census-taker will not argue with you. He or she should simply give you the courtesy of knowing that you will receive either a follow-up email or phone call from one of the real sources I mentioned in the last paragraph.

The 2020 census is important to us all. It’s important to America. But it’s not as important as your safety and your security.

Copyright 2020 Wise Choices TM. All rights reserved.

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