My2020Census Scam Review – Types, Tips & Ways To Avoid Census Scams!

Every 10 years Americans are asked to participate in a process known as the Census.

Census is the procedure of systemically acquiring and recording information regarding the members of a given population, oftentimes conducted through surveys or questionnaires.

Given that the US reflects a population of nearly 330 million, it goes without saying that the census is a nationwide process that many scammers have been waiting for.

Since Census happens every 10 years, planning for these scams is easy but after compiling tips from Census.Gov and other 3rd party sources, we have shared with you simple ways to rule out whether you are being contacted from an official Census administrator or just another phony scam.

With that in mind, let’s begin!

History of Census Scams

It goes without saying that there is has been a rich history of Census scams.

With such a large procedure being enforced federally, millions upon millions of American’s are obligated to provide their Census answers which provide scammers with the ultimate opportunity to deceive unsuspecting Americans.

Now it’s important to remember that with such a wide-scale process occurring, scammers have been preparing for this moment and have more tools available to them than they had 10 years ago.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the type of Census scams you can expect to surface throughout our 2020 Census.

Types of Census Scams

  • Census Phone Scams – One of the most common ways that Census scams are carried out would be through telephone calls. With technology not supported a decade ago, scammers can trick you into believing through call spoofing that the U.S. Census Bureau is calling or conversing with you but in actuality, it’s likely a robocaller or a desperate scammer. Tomaschek said, “You can call the Census Bureau’s National Processing Center to confirm the identity of the census agent. If the caller cannot be identified, do not under any circumstances provide the caller with any information,” so before you hand over any information make sure that you’re being contacted by a legitimate Census Bureau representative.
  • Door-to-Door Census Scams – For those of you who don’t fill out a form or report your census information through web, mail or phone, a Census representative will come to your door to interview you some time throughout the upcoming months. However, how can you be sure that the Census representative is legitimate? According to Tomaschek, “If someone knocks on your door claiming to be a census taker, ask them to present their official Census Bureau-issued photo ID to ensure they are legitimate,” each ID badge will include a Department of Commerce watermark along with an expiration date. Additionally, you can verify the agent’s name in the Census Bureau’s Online Staff Directory
  • Online Census Scams – The web provides scammers with multiple ways to trick individuals into divulging their personal information, even when they don’t realize it. Typically, phishing emails are the main threat in this situation although you should know the Census Bureau WILL NEVER contact you through email to complete a survey. If confronted with an official-looking email, it is best to simply delete the email and DO NOT click on any links or attachments as they will likely send you to untrustworthy sites or contain malware.
  • Census Postage Mail Scams – The Census Bureau’s first method of contact is typically through postage mail, where it is common knowledge that scammers tend to try to beat the Census Bureau by sending official-looking faux census documents. One new trick being employed by scammers would be mailing postcards that come with a QR code, where if scanned will allegedly allow you to access the census survey on a webpage, but when the code is scanned, it loads malware onto the recipient’s device, according to Rachel Willson, an Investigative Coordinator in Client Relations for The Smith Investigation Agency. The easiest way to rule out if census mail is a scam would be to see if the return address reflects a city other than Jefferson, Indiana (where all official census forms are mailed), as disclosed at
  • Census Job Hunting Scams – If you’re seeking employment related to Census jobs, you should be aware of scammers potentially posting fake job offers online. According to Weisman, “However, the scammers are using this as an opportunity to make you a victim of identity theft or steal your money.” Some variations of Census Job scams include charging an application fee but Weisman also points out that no federal agency, including the Census Bureau, charges an application fee. Other Census scams request you to divulge your bank account information for direct deposit and/or Social Security Number for tax withholding purposes but you are NOT required to provide this documentation until you are well within the hiring procedure and have spoken with in-person employees. The best route for seeking a job with the Census Bureau would be directly through their Job Application page.

How to Avoid Census Scams

There are a few quick ways to rule out whether you are facing a Census scam.

This is done by understanding the type of information that the Census Bureau will NEVER REQUEST from you.

The Census Bureau will never request:

  • Credit Card Numbers
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Bank Account Numbers
  • Banking Passwords
  • Your Mother’s Maiden Name
  • Anything on Behalf of a Political Party
  • Money or Donations

Last but not least, although participating in the Census is vitally important and technically mandatory you cannot be fined or jailed for failing to complete your census survey.

Tomaschek said, “If someone claiming to be a census agent requests such information from you and/or threatens you with fines or jail time for not complying, you will know that you are dealing with a scammer.”

Is a Scam?

No, My2020Census is a supportive website of, both of which are legitimate and Federally operated sites.

My2020 Census Scam Review

By better understanding what the Census is, how you are typically contacted and by remembering the type of information not requested by the Census Bureau you can better evade scammers and complete your Census worry-free.

As technology continues to evolve, it won’t be long until more Americans fall victim to the cleverness and deceptiveness of scammers exploiting the Census process.

Stay vigilant, stay safe and continue to remain on your guard!

If you have valuable insight or feedback to share, we ask for you to share your thoughts with us in a comment below, thank you!


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