PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Opportunist.
That's what scam artists specialize in.
Whatever is hot or topical will be subject to somebody's scam, So it should be no surprise that the 2020 U.S. Census is ripe with scammers.
From bogus emails to phone calls, and knocks at the door, the scam artist is trying to pass themselves off as Census workers and get information and money from the unsuspecting.
Michael Cook Sr. from the Census Bureau Headquarters says this is prime time for the scams because the Census takers are out there right now going door to door trying to collect information.
"The Census workers are now going across the country and knocking on the doors of households that have not self responded to the 2020 census," he said. "All of our census takers have PPEs, masks are mandatory and they'll be standing six feet away from your door. And they'll be asking you these simple questions and putting this information on iPhones that relay it directly to the cloud."
He says before you start answering questions take a close look at the person knocking on your door.
"They will have a picture ID that they can show you to verify that they work for us," he reassures the public. "The questions that they ask you are going to be about the people who live in your house. So they are going to ask to speak to the head of the household who can answer the questions as of who was in the household on April 1, 2020. They will ask your name, they are going to ask your phone number they are going to ask you whether you own or rent your home. They are going to ask you how long you've lived in that home, and then they're going to ask about your age, your sex, your race, your ethnicity, and they'll ask those same questions for everybody else who lives in the house."
Cook emphatically points out: "We will not ask about bank accounts, social security numbers, we won't ask for any money. This is purely statistical information about the individuals who live in that household."
The Census is critical Cook says because it impacts the number of representatives you have in Congress and how a lot of money is allocated.
"It's about $1.5 trillion, it's been estimated in federal funds that flow down to the local level, every single year based on a complete and accurate count," he explained. "So getting an accurate count makes is so the decision-makers at the local level right there in Pittsburgh can make informed decisions that impact your life for the next ten years."
If you want to avoid having the ten-minute conversation on your front stoop with a Census taker Cook says to go online and complete the 2020 Census.
The 2020 Census can be filled out online, at the Census website.
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