Avoiding Census Scams and Frauds

Jan 27, 2020

The United States Census happens once every ten years and asks every resident of the United States and its territories to answer the official U.S. Census Bureau questionnaire.

Unfortunately, households across the nation are already receiving fraudulent mail, emails, and phone calls claiming to be a part of the U.S. Census. The Census will not be delivered by email or text message, and the Census Bureau cannot and will not ask for anyone’s Social Security number, bank account or credit card information, nor ask for money, donations, or anything on behalf of a political party. They will not threaten legal action, either.

Keep yourself and your patrons safe by learning what the 2020 Census looks like with this official sample questionnaire. Most households will be invited to complete the questionnaire, which they can do online at the official Census 2020 website, by phone to an official Census 2020 call center, or by visiting the Census 2020 website for a printable copy to mail to the Census Bureau receiving center. Since fraudulent surveys have been circulating, it’s important to remind patrons to use their best judgement when it comes to filling out forms with personal information.

Every correspondence with the U.S. Census Bureau and Census 2020 campaign will have the official United States Census 2020 logo. If there is no logo on the document, it is not official census material.

Sample of the tagline and official Census 2020 logo

It is important to remember patrons may be weary of filling out an official Census form if they believe they have already done so by completing previous fraudulent requests. If you or a patron suspect fraud, call 1-800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.

Patrons may also be concerned about the privacy of the information they provide in the census questionnaire. For more information on patron privacy in the 2020 Census, watch this brief video.



Census representatives will be in communities to verify address information starting in the spring of 2020. If someone visits your patron’s home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, they can take safety precautions by verifying the representative’s identity. A census field representative must present an ID badge containing a photograph of the field representative, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. If asked, they’ll provide supervisor contact information and/or the regional office phone number for verification, will provide a letter from the director of the Census Bureau on U.S. Census Bureau letterhead, and may be carrying a laptop and/or bag with the Census Bureau logo.

When in doubt, you or your patrons can contact the Regional Census Office in Denver, Colorado, at 1-800-852-6159 and provide the visitor’s identity to verify their affiliation with the Bureau. If the visitor claiming to be a census representative does not work for the Census Bureau, the local police department should be contacted immediately.

More resources:

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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