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AARP ElderWatch Smart Tips: the 2020 census


Every 10 years the United States conducts a census to count all of the people living in our country. Because the Census attempts to contact all people, it is reasonable to believe that scammers might try and take advantage of this opportunity to attempt to collect personal and financial information. Knowing how the Census works will help you avoid potential Census scams. Here are a few things you should know:

  • Invitations to respond online to the Census will be sent in the mail March 12-20. Two postcard reminders will follow the initial invitation (if the Census has not been completed). The fourth mailing will contain a reminder and a paper questionnaire. The fifth mailing will alert you that a Census taker will visit your home.
  • In May, June and July, Census takers will conduct door-to-door enumeration for households that have not responded to the Census online or through the mail.
  • The Census Bureau will not send you an email. Almost all contact from the Census will come through the mail.
  • Census agents will not ask you for personal or financial information, such as your Social Security number or credit card number.
  • Census takers will not ask for donations. 
  • Though taking part in the Census is required by law, a Census taker will never threaten arrest.

If you have any doubt about if the contact you received was from a real Census agent call 800-642-0469. If you have any other questions about potential Census scams, contact an AARP ElderWatch volunteer for assistance at 800-222-4444 and choose option 2.