Live 5 Scambusters: Don’t be counted as a victim of Census scams

Updated: Aug. 20, 2020 at 6:01 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the U.S. Census Bureau a curveball and delayed the process, but as the push to finish the count ramps up, scammers may take advantage.

The Census Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission put out a warning to remind people about the census process and how to spot a census scam.

The original invitation to the census should have arrived in the mail in March with the paper forms and instructions to respond online. After a delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, census takers should now be heading out into neighborhoods to collect data from people who haven’t responded.

Census takers must show a photo ID with the Department of Commerce seal and expiration date. They will also be wearing masks. The FTC also says the census taker will give you a supervisor’s contact information for verification if you ask.

If you’re not at home the census taker will leave information to fill out the form online at

If you have the original mailer you will find your 12-digit Census ID number to start the questionnaire. If you don’t have that number you will be asked to confirm your address. You will be asked to provide your full name and phone number. The questionnaire includes a few questions about the number of people living at the address, their names, relations, gender and race.

You will not be asked for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, money or donations or anything about political parties. If you are asked these questions in person, on the phone, or through an online survey then you know it’s a scam.

You can find the latest information about the 2020 census and investigate any possible scams by going to 2020 Census Rumors. If you would like to speak with a Census Bureau representative about possible fraud you can call 800-923-8282. You can also report scams to the FTC at

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at

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