They earn your trust to steal your money. Impostor scams are common and criminals can be so convincing, especially when someone pretends to be with a government agency. But every 10 years, during the U.S. census, you could receive a call or visit that is legitimate.
According to the Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection, the best way to protect yourself from being scammed, is to fill out the census form when you get it.
"If you fill out the form, you're not going to get a call or you're not going to have somebody come to your door from the government," said Lara Sutherlin with DATCP.
So what if you filled out the form, and someone still comes to your door saying they're with the U.S. census?
"If they do, you just say, 'I've already filled it out.,'" said Sutherlin.
"But they should know who has already filled it out. They are not going to send people to places that have already filled it out. It would be a waste of resources," she continued.
If you forget about filling out the census form and you don't do it, a census worker will call you and come to your door sometime between May and July. In fact, they can come up to six times. To make sure that worker is who they say they are, write down their ID badge number, call your regional census office, and have them run the number.
"If that person is from the U.S. Government, they're going to stand there and say 'Absolutely, make that call. We're happy for you to do that. Once you confirmed we can help you fill out your Census form,'" Sutherlin said.
If they come to your door, what questions will a census taker ask you?
"So, the census has really basic questions about who is living in the house, how many people are living in the house and what their affiliation is to one another, their race, their ethnicity things like that," Sutherlin explained.
The U.S. Census taker will not ask you for your social security number or any financial information for that matter. If they do, that's a sign of fraud.
Click here to find your regional Census office.