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Tue, Jan. 28

Editorial: How residents can protect themselves from a fake census worker

With the 2020 Census just around the corner, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Census Bureau are teaming up to help quad-city residents guard against potential census scams.

“Knowing how the 2020 Census process works, what information you will – and won’t – be asked for, and some red flags will help you spot and report scams,” FTC Consumer Education Specialist Colleen Tressler said in a statement.

Since scammers may pose as a census taker in your neighborhood looking to grab your personal information and then use it to commit identity theft or fraud, here’s a few ways to identify an official census taker:

One: Census takers must show photo ID with the U.S. Department of Commerce seal and expiration date.

Two: If you ask, the census taker will give you a supervisor’s contact info or the regional office phone number to verify.

Three: The census taker will never ask for your full Social Security Number, bank account or credit card numbers. They won’t ask for money, or donations, either. And they definitely won’t ask for citizenship status.

The process is certainly thorough. In mid-March, the Census Bureau will begin mailing invitations to participate in the 2020 Census. Most Prescott-area residents will receive theirs by April 1, 2020.

Then, starting in May 2020, census takers will start visiting homes that haven’t responded to be sure everyone is counted. Remember, the Census Bureau is attempting to count every person living in the United States.

The census taker will come back to your home up to six times if you’re not around, and each time, they’ll leave a door hanger with a phone number so you can call and schedule a visit.

And what are the questions they’ll be asking? Mostly, census takers ask how many people are in the home, their sex, age, race, ethnicity; their relationships to one another; phone number; and whether you rent or own the home.

For a full list of questions, visit 2020census.gov/en/about-questions next year.

Remember, if you suspect fraud, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. You can also file a report with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

— The Daily Courier

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