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BBB: keeping your information safe during door-to-door census visits

Posted at 10:08 AM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 17:58:20-04

BOISE, Idaho — There are only a few more weeks in the U.S. Census count, and the Bureau is trying to gather all the information needed. Census workers have been delayed by COVID-19, but now, many people in the Treasure Valley are hearing knocks at their door. Unfortunately, you could open the door on an imposter.

The Better Business Bureau is receiving reports that census workers are being impersonated by con artists in hopes of getting personal information from citizens. BBB's Rebecca Barr says the best thing to keep in mind is the information census takers request is personal, but there are certain details they will not ask for, including your full social security number, money, donations, anything on behalf of a political party, your full bank or credit account numbers, or your mother's maiden name.

So how can you tell if the person knocking at your door is a real census worker? First, check to make sure they have a valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date. Census workers must also carry Bureau bags and other equipment with the Census Bureau logo. The Bureau has also stated that workers will be wearing masks and asking to conduct questioning outside while social distancing.

Census workers may not be the only people knocking at your door right now, so how can you tell if a salesperson is legitimate or not? Barr says it starts by knowing you have the right to ask about licensing. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a solicitor license. Also, make sure to check identification. A reputable seller will give you all the information you ask for, including a photo ID and a business card.

Don’t give in to pressure. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics, and be aware that anything you sign could construe a contract. If you do find yourself with a contract, read it closely. If you are interested in a product or service, get everything in writing including price, contract details, and all other terms and conditions.

If you're not sure about signing an agreement, tell the salesperson you will check it out and get back to them. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line. Verify the physical address and valid contact information for the company are included.

For more on door-to-door census visits, click here. You can find more information on keeping your information safe here.