The United States Census Bureau is conducting a national census as it is required by law to do every ten years.  The Census is very important and is required by the Constitution.  Census data is used to determine the numbers of members for each state in the House of Representatives which also affects the Electoral College.  The Census Bureau will be contacting Americans in a variety of ways including phone calls, letters and even Census Bureau workers who will come to your home.  As a part of the census, you will be asked for much personal information, which makes the census a perfect vehicle for identity thieves to pose as census workers in an effort to lure you into providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  A key thing to remember is that the real Census Bureau will never ask you for your Social Security number, bank account numbers or credit card numbers.  Anyone posing as a census worker who asks for that information is an identity thief.  Earlier this year in Dallas, Robert Cooper was tricked into providing his Medicare number when completing an official-appearing census form he received in the mail.  The real Census Bureau may ask if you have health insurance, but it will never ask for your Medicare card number or health insurance account number.

TIPS

Last March the real United States Census Bureau began sending official letters to everyone regarding the census.  You could respond either online, by phone or through the mail.  Obviously it is important to make sure that you are providing your information to the United States Census Bureau and not an identity thief.  The United States Census Bureau suggests that people go to their website for information about how to confirm when you are contacted by mail, phone or in person whether you are being contacted by a legitimate representative of the United States Census Bureau https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/surveyhelp/verify-a-survey.html  however, personally, I don’t think their advice is up to the task and their advice also requires too much effort.  The better way to deal with providing your census information is to provide your information online directly to the census bureau through its website of http://www.census.gov.

People who have not yet filled in a census form started being contacted by phone by census workers a few days ago.  Unfortunately, whenever you are contacted by phone you can never be sure who is really contacting you.  By using a technique called “spoofing” a scammer can make his or her call appear on your Caller ID as if the call is coming from the census bureau when it is actually coming from a scammer.  I still believe that the safest way to complete the census form is online.  The deadline for completing the census form is October 31st, but I urge you to complete it now if you have not done so already.

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