At the end of last week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody warned consumers of scams related to the U.S. Census as the census deadline is extended to Sept. 30 due to the coronavirus.
Along with updates on the extended deadline, the Census Bureau is ramping up higher numbers of census takers visiting homes that have not responded to the 2020 Census.
“It is so very important that Floridians respond to the Census—but with more census workers heading door-to-door it could mean more opportunity for imposters and scams. I encourage all Floridians to familiarize themselves with the proper protocols of census takers, and report any suspicious activity to the Census Bureau, local law enforcement or my office,” Moody said on Friday.
The rising number of door-to-door census takers could create a greater opportunity for scammers to impersonate U.S. Census workers with the goal of breaking into homes to steal money, property or commit violent acts. Scammers may also use the opportunity to gain access to private information and commit identity theft or other crimes.
To avoid falling victim to census scams:
Check the ID badge of a Census worker doing home visits by looking for the worker’s photograph, U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date;
Call 1(800) 923-8282 if questions remain about a Census worker’s identity and ask to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor does not work for the Census Bureau, contact local law enforcement;
Know that the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails, or ask for Social Security numbers, bank account or credit card information, or money; and
Confirm that the return address on the mail from the Census Bureau is Jeffersonville, Indiana.
In February, Moody issued a Consumer Alert warning Floridians about online and in-person scams related to the U.S. Census, offering information on how to avoid these scams and where to report suspicious activity.