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Tips for avoiding census scammers

It's census time again, and police are offering tips on how to avoid con artists who may use the "official snapshot of the country" as a opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting people.

The census is conducted every 10 years in order to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as federal funding for schools, transportation and other services.

Census forms are beginning to land in mailboxes. If a form is not completed and returned to the government, a census taker will come to collect the information.

The Virginia State Police released a list of tips for ensuring that a census taker who shows up at your door is the real thing:

  • Census takers visiting your home will possess a special identification badge issued by the U.S. Census Bureau. Ask to see this badge if someone comes to your residence stating they are a census taker. If for any reason you are concerned about their identity, call the Regional Census Office for Virginia at (704) 936-5300.
  • According to the U.S. Census Website, (, a “census taker will never ask to enter your home.” Therefore, be wary of anyone who identifies himself/herself as a census taker and insists upon entering your residence in order to conduct an interview. Refuse that individual entry and call the Regional Census Office or police.
  • Official census takers can only interview individuals 15 years or older. They are not permitted to interview anyone under 15 years of age. If your child has been approached by an adult claiming to be a census taker, ask your child fully about the encounter and notify police.
  • Census takers will never ask for bank account or credit card numbers or information. Such information has nothing to do with the 2010 Census.

-- Maria Glod

By Maria Glod  |  March 16, 2010; 8:12 AM ET
Categories:  Around the Nation , Maria Glod  
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