With the US Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau (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 US Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country.
Eventually more than 140,000 US Census workers will count every person in the United States and will 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 different between a US Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:
A. If a US Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home. You don't have to invite the Census take into your house either.
B. 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 US 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 Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the US Census Bureau.
For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit www.bbb.org
Posted by Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group