Tips For Avoiding Census Scams - From the Oklahoma Department of Commerce

March 19, 2020

The 2020 Census is safe and confidential, but, unfortunately, there are people out there running scams that impersonate the census, phishing for your information. Census scammers may try to contact you by phone, mail, or home visit, or even direct you to phony websites.

We’ve rounded up some information to help those in your community spot and avoid these scams.

Census Scam Warning Signs

You get an email claiming to be from the Census Bureau. Even though you can fill out the 2020 Census online, the Census Bureau will only contact you by mail or in person.

A supposed census agent asks you for money or financial data, such as your bank account number and balance. The Census Bureau will never ask for this information.

A supposed census taker threatens you with arrest. Even though participating in the census is required by law, but you can’t be imprisoned.

Avoiding Scams Online

Phishing is a criminal act in which someone tries to get your information by pretending to be an entity that you trust. Phishing emails often direct you to a website that looks real but is fake—and may be infected with malware.

Staying Safe at Home

If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:

First, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.

If you still have questions about their identity, you can call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

No genuine census survey or agent can:

Ask for your Social Security number, bank, credit card, or account numbers

Ask when you leave for or return from work

Ask for money or donations

Ask for support for a political party

Threaten jail time

Beginning this week, the majority of households will receive an initial invitation to respond to the 2020 Census in their mailboxes. Census Day is April 1, but you can fill the census out any time after you’ve received your identification number.

There are multiple avenues by which a household can complete the census – online, by mail (only a small percentage will be mailed), in-person and over the phone. The telephone numbers for phone completion of the Census are below.

Language Line Toll-Free Numbers:

English 844-330-2020

Spanish 844-468-2020

Chinese (Mandarin) 844-391-2020

Chinese (Cantonese) 844-398-2020

Vietnamese 844-461-2020

Korean 844-392-2020

Russian 844-417-2020

Arabic 844-416-2020

Tagalog 844-478-2020

Polish 844-479-2020

French 844-494-2020

Haitian Creole 844-477-2020

Portuguese 844-474-2020

Japanese 844-460-2020

English (Puerto Rico residents) 844-418-2020

Spanish (Puerto Rico residents) 844-426-2020

Telephone Display Device (TDD) 844-467-2020