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Scam Alert Issued To Seniors Over The Census

February 18, 2010
As census takers move into full swing, cautions are going out to prevent older adults from falling prey to criminals masquerading as legitimate Census Bureau workers. Both cyber criminals and scam artists may try to get personal information from you, information NOT requested by the US Census. Here’s what you need to know. When you are in a Census Bureau household survey, you may receive a letter from the Census Bureau Director, notifying you that, in a few days, your household will receive a questionnaire in the mail, a phone call from the Census Bureau or a visit from a Census Bureau representative. This letter will also tell you whether your participation is mandatory or voluntary, and that your responses are confidential and protected by law. Census forms will be mailed to households with a return-by date of April 1, 2010. From April through July, census workers will knock on the door of every household that did not return its census forms.?So the first step in avoiding scam artists at your door is to fill out and mail in your form. Should you get a visit, know that a true census worker will have a badge with a Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date, a letter from the Census Bureau Director on official letterhead and a handheld device or computer. If you are contacted by phone and feel you need to verify that the person calling you is indeed a Census Bureau employee, call one of these telephone centers: Hagerstown, MD, 1-800-392-6975; Jeffersonville, IN: 1-800-523-3205; Tucson, AZ: 1-800-642-0469. A big red flag signaling a scam involves the type of questions you are asked to answer: The Census might request some basic financial information like your income range but will never ask for your full social security number, for money or a donation or request PIN codes, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts. And keep in mind that while Census workers may contact you by telephone, by mail or in person at home, the Census is not conducted by email. If you get an email claiming to be from the US Census Bureau, do not reply or click on any links within the email and don’t open any attachments; it could contain a virus. Forward the email or website URL to the Census Bureau at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and then delete the message. More information can be found online at http://www.census.gov/survey_participants/household_surveys/. Be counted, but don’t be a victim of a scam.