BBB warns of fake census scam

Published 2:44 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Better Business Bureau is warning Shelby County residents to be on the lookout for scam artists posing as U.S. census workers.

U.S. census workers will begin making door-to-door visits May 1 to all area residents who did not mail in their census forms before April 1, according to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

But some scam artists may begin taking advantage of those who are expecting a visit from the Census Bureau, according to a BBB press release.

Census workers must collect some data, like a person’s age, name, gender, race and other pertinent information, but they will never ask for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, banking information or for donations.

Every census worker who knocks on a door will have an identification badge, a handheld data device, a Census Bureau shoulder bag and a confidentiality notice.

The census badge and the shoulder bag will have the U.S. Department of Commerce badge on them, and all census workers will display their identification badge and confidentiality notice before they begin the survey.

If nobody is home when the census worker arrives at a residence, the worker will leave a notice urging the resident to conduct the census over the phone.

“Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions,” read the BBB press release. “Census workers may contact you by telephone, however, they will not contact you by e-mail.

“Be on the lookout for e-mail scams impersonating the census,” read the BBB release. “Never click on a link or open any attachments in an e-mail that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.”

If you believe you have been a victim of census impersonators in any way, call the regional census office at 1-888-586-9439.