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Scam Watch: 2020 Census Scams

census 2020 scams

The U.S. Census is a decennial event that counts every person living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).  On April 1, 2020, the 24th U.S. Census will begin and the Census Bureau is currently recruiting to fill hundreds of thousands of temporary positions. Individuals across the country are being selected to assist with the 2020 Census count. As with any occasion, scammers are already spinning their web of deceit. Business Consumer Alliance is warning all to be on the lookout for census scams and warn others so they don’t fall victim.

Identifying Census Scams

Watch out for scammers guaranteeing census taker jobs but charging fees to help you get the job. They may claim the charge is an application fee, or some other fee that needs to be paid before you can get hired. This is not true and a clear indication that you are dealing with a scammer. You never have to pay for information about job vacancies or employment opportunities with the U.S. Government. Federal agencies never charge applicants fees or guarantee a job.

Individuals interested in working for the 2020 Census can apply directly at the Census Bureau’s website, There you will find helpful information on how to apply, qualifications for applicants, what to expect after you apply, and other information related to the 2020 Census.

Census Imposter Scams

Scammers also use imposter scams to victimize others into giving their personal information or money. Be on the watch for con artists posing as census takers or other affiliates of the Census Bureau. While the Census does ask for personal information, they will never ask for the following:

  • Full social security number
  • Money
  • Donations
  • Full bank account or credit card numbers and information
  • Your mother’s maiden name
  • Anything on behalf of any political party

If someone visits your home to collect information for the 2020 Census, check their identity. Ask to see their ID badge that has the persons photograph, the U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. You can also contact (800) 923-8282 and speak with a local Census Bureau representative if you have questions or to report fraud. Please contact your local law enforcement immediately if you find that the person visiting does not work for the Census Bureau.

Your Participation is Necessary

Not only is your participation in the Census required by law, your answers help your community. The information collected during the Census helps determine how much funding local communities receive for public services and how many seats each state gets in Congress. Your answers to the Census are protected by law and the Census Bureau does not disclose any personal information.

Starting in mid-March 2020, invitations with detailed information on how to participate in the 2020 Census will go out to U.S. households.  You may respond to the Census online, by phone, and by mail. For more information on who should be counted, visit the Census Bureau website,

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About Business Consumer Alliance Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.