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Upcoming census is a prime opportunity for impostor scams, AARP warns

Posted at 8:31 PM, Feb 19, 2020

As the census is about to get underway nationwide, the AARP is warning that scammers could use the census as a prime opportunity to conduct impostor scams intended to steal your personal information.

According to AARP data, nearly half of Americans have been targeted by impostor scams in the past, while a majority may be susceptible to phony Census correspondence or telephone calls in the coming months.

Data would suggest that people are more susceptible to impostor scams. The US Federal Trade Commission reported a 50% increase in impostor scams in 2019 compared to 2018.

"We've learned that scammers are very shrewd and adept at capitalizing on current events," said Kathy Stokes, director, fraud prevention programs, AARP. "The census has been in the news, so most people are expecting to hear soon from the Census Bureau. Scammers will use that to their advantage as they aim to deceive people into sharing sensitive information or handing over money."

Of concern is that 70% of Americans surveyed by AARP were incorrect or unsure on whether the US Census would email the public. The first contact from the US Census people will receive is in March via US Mail, with an in-person visit coming in May for those who do not return their census form.

Also, 35% were incorrect or unsure on whether the US Census would ask for social security numbers. The US Census will not request personal information such as social security numbers.

The AARP is offering tips on its website to help Americans avoid being scammed by impostors representing the US Census.

A fraud expert is also answering questions online to help those who think they may be the target of a scammer.