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District Attorney Warns of Census Scams

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

March 27, 2020 -- In addition to being on the lookout for cornonavirus scams and price gauging, LA County residents should beware of scammers posing as census takers, the District Attorneys office said Friday.

The scammers are using emails and knocking on doors to steal personal information, said LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

"In the census scam, con artists send emails claiming to be United States Census Bureau representatives," Lacey said.

The emails ask for information, such as a Social Security number and bank or credit card account information, she said. They also may request donations.

Lacey noted that the U.S. Census Bureau never sends emails.

"If you receive an email, do not reply, click any links or open any attachments," she said.

Some scammers are visiting residents in an effort to steal their information.

"If someone visits your home, verify their identity by checking for a valid identification badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date," Lacey said.

Those who suspect criminal activity should contact their local law enforcement agency, she said.

Door knockers were scheduled to begin in-person follow-ups in mid-May to households that don't respond to the mailed invitations, but it is unclear how the coronavirus emergency will impact their deployment, according to the U.S. News and World Report.

Some field operations that were already on-going included "primarily dropping off paper questionnaires at places with no fixed addresses and large numbers of seasonal workers," according to an AP report.

The Census Bureau has already extended deadlines to self respond during the coronavirus emergency from Juy 31 to August 14.

The same deadline extension applies to nonresponse follow-up, early response follow-up and the mobile assistance program, Census officials said.

As of March 20, 18.6 million households had responded to the census, officials said.

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