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Census taker or faker? BBB issues warning on Census scams

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers not to be a victim of identity theft and other scams while the federal government conducts the U.S. Census, the once-a-decade counting of every man, woman and child in the country. The Census Bureau has mailed census forms to more than 130 million addresses nationwide, but households that do not return the form in the mail may receive a personal visit from a census worker at their front door.

“No matter what they ask, you really only need to tell them how many people live at your address and you don’t have to answer anything at all about your financial situation,” said Sheryl Bilbrey, San Diego BBB president/CEO. “However, we recommend completing the census form because it will help each individual’s voice be heard.”

The BBB advises: Do not allow entry into your home to anyone you don’t know and never reveal personal financial information, such as social security, bank number or credit card numbers, to any census worker; Do not respond to e-mails from the U.S. Census Bureau with attachments that may contain harmful viruses or spy ware since the Bureau has announced it will not contact citizens by e-mail.

Legitimate census takers will never solicit for donations or other types of payment. Consumers can verify a Census Bureau worker by their badge with their name and signature and a black canvas shoulder bag reading “U.S. Census.” If asked, the census taker must provide you with the name of a supervisor or the phone number of the Census Bureau’s regional office.

For more consumer protection information, visit the Better Business Bureau’s website at


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