Avoiding Fraud and Scams

The U.S. Census Bureau is committed to making the 2020 Census quick, easy, and safe for all participants. Here are some tips to help you stay safe.

   
A close-up of a census taker's hand holding a mobile phone.

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.

It is important to know that the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. Further, during the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask for:

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your bank account or credit card numbers.
  • Money or donations.

In addition, the Census Bureau will not contact you on behalf of a political party.

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

Reporting Suspected Fraud

  • Call the Carroll County Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Illegal Activity Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 410-386-5030. Note:  Callers can remain Anonymous OR email fraud@carrollcountymd.gov. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department.