Are those calls really coming from the census bureau?

Are those calls really coming from the census bureau?
Posted at 11:43 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 00:43:07-04

By now, you hopefully know that if the IRS calls, it's almost always a scam call.

But now, some homeowners are getting calls from the census, or are they?

Consumer reporter John Matarese shows how to see if it is legitimate, so you don’t waste your money.

Remember the census? That was supposed to be the big story of 2020, until COVID-19.

But the census bureau now is ramping up again, which means you may be getting a call.

But is it really the census?

Amy Cheney's cell phone rang the other day.

"When I get a call on my cell phone, and it's not a recognized number, I don't answer it,” she said.

Especially since there was no identifying name.

“It showed up an unknown, an unknown phone number,” she said.

But it called again and then a third time. Finally, Amy answered and was told it was the U.S. Census Bureau.

She was suspicious.

"I know from your reports and lots of other places that the IRS does not call people, and Social Security does not call people,” Cheney said. “And I thought why would the census bureau be calling me?"

Normally, if you don't respond to the census mailing - you should have received about three of them by now - the bureau will send a census taker to your front door. But in this year of COVID, they are turning to phones instead.

"He explained that because of COVID-19 they are not able to do their door to door canvassing they normally do, and so they are making phone calls to people to follow up on information,” Cheney said.

How do you know if it is real?

  • A legitimate census caller will tell you to go to the census website.
  • There you will find the exact number they are calling from.
  • They will also never ask for your social security number or a credit card.

At that point, go ahead and answer their questions … even if ...

"It felt weird to have a government agency making a phone call to me,” she said.

However the census bureau is now hiring workers again which means you may get a visit at your door this summer, if you didn't answer the forms or their call.

As always, don’t waste your money.