Skip to main content

The Federal Trade Commission is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to help you guard against potential census scams. Knowing how the 2020 Census process works, what information you will — and won’t — be asked for, and some red flags will help you spot and report scams.

The Process

The 2020 Census began in March. By now, most households have responded. For those who haven’t, census takers will begin visiting homes to help complete the count. If you’re not home or can’t come to the door, a census taker will leave a notice with information about how to respond online or by phone.

Due to the COVID pandemic, census takers will be wearing masks and following local public health guidelines when they visit you. They will ask a few questions and submit your answers on a secure Census Bureau phone.

The Questions

The census questionnaire asks how many people were living in the home on April 1, 2020; their sex, age, race, ethnicity; their relationships to one another; phone number; and whether you own or rent the home. For the full list of questions on the 2020 Census, visit Questions Asked.

Signs of a Scam

Scammers may pose as census takers to get your personal information — and then use it to commit identity theft and other frauds. But there are ways you can identify official census takers.

Census takers must show a photo ID with the U.S. Department of Commerce seal and an expiration date. If you ask, the census taker will give you a supervisor’s contact information and/or the regional census enter phone number for verification.

The Census Bureau will never ask for your full Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, money or donations, or anything on behalf of a political party. The 2020 Census will not ask citizenship status.

The Census Bureau may call or email you as part of their follow-up and quality control efforts. They also might call if you’re not home when a census taker stops by, or when a personal visit is not convenient. Calls will come from one of the Census Bureau’s contact centers or from a field representative. Since we all know you can’t trust caller ID, visit How to identify a phone call from the Census Bureau for the phone numbers you can use to check out any calls you might get. Email messages from will alert households in low-response areas that the 2020 Census is coming to a close, and ask that people respond online at If you get one of these messages, you can opt out of getting future messages.

Make sure you have the latest and most accurate information about the 2020 Census. Visit 2020 Census Rumors to fact-check and ask questions.

If you suspect fraud, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. You also can file a report with the FTC at Your reports may help law enforcement agencies launch investigations that could stop imposters and other fraudsters in their tracks.

Want information on the latest frauds and scams we’re seeing? Sign up for our consumer alerts.

Updated August 19, 2020 with new information about how the U.S. Census Bureau will reach out to people who have not responded to the 2020 Census.

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

August 19, 2020
I completed our household 2020 Census immediately upon receipt. Since then, I have received many "Census" inquiries by mail and yes, with a monetary donation request, mostly by campaign or law enforcement organizations that I have never heard of. I shred them.
Don't use your…
August 19, 2020
I have send mine in already..
August 19, 2020
Please report those abusers. It is against the law to user any Census information outside the agency. I am a Census employee and these kinds of things really bother me. Help fight abuse on the internet, please
Tru Grit
August 19, 2020
Co-incidentally, an alleged census taker left a notice at our front door that they need our participation in the census. I had filled out al the info online last March. Apparently there is no communication within the census department on who has responded or not. Too bad- - -
August 26, 2020

In reply to by Tru Grit

This has happened to me, too. 2 notice of visits left at my house so I tried to use the census ID in case I was mistaken but when going to to enter the ID it would not work. Even after several attempts.
August 29, 2020

In reply to by Tru Grit

There is a lot of confusion about census enumerators job. There are a few different kinds of interviews and jobs that enumerators do. Most often I see people say that they already filled out the census but an enumerator showed up to ask the questions all over again. There is an explanation for this. It’s called a re-interview where your household was selected at random to be interviewed again. It is purely for quality control to ensure that interviews are being conducted correctly.
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Tru Grit

This happened to me too. I filled out all the info online back in March and yesterday I had a notice on my front door.
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Tru Grit

I understand your frustration with this completely. Enumerators are told this year that even if the household responded by mail earlier in the year, their servers and systems have no record of it so they are forced to do it again in real time. They are not even allowed to tell respondents that no one else will show up after them.
Indian Summer
September 03, 2020

In reply to by Tru Grit

The same just happened to me. I filled mine out in March
August 20, 2020
Can this Census be done on line? Thank you
Michael …
August 20, 2020
Both brother and I fiilled out a Cenus Report on the Internet back sometime ago. Both of us, gave all the information that was requied. So if anyone from the the Censes Bureau come by, or call I'll tell them, both me and my brother sent in everything, by Internet.
August 25, 2020

In reply to by Michael …

I’ve done multiple, and ever since then they’ve been coming by more often. I have an immune deficiency so I’m not opening the door have the time they don’t even wear a mask as required.
R Davis
August 19, 2020
As a 2020 Census Enumerator, I always have my official ID visible and on my outer most garment. I also carry the official black in color U.S. Census Bureau satchel shoulder bag with the huge white and blue U.S. Census Bureau logo on the side. I’m happy to present to you my ID if asked. Never hesitate to ask if you have any doubt.
August 20, 2020
I was in Florida in April and completed a census form at that time, for my Florida address. I am now in Pennsylvania and got a paper stating that I had to fill out a census form . Do I have to do this twice ?? I was not in PA. in April.
August 23, 2020

In reply to by PaResident

I’m an enumerator. A census form needs to be done for each address, but you will only be counted where you lived on April 1. The questionnaire will ask if you lived in PA in April. Check the NO box. Then it may ask if you filled one out for your FL address, and check YES.
August 20, 2020
My cousin, who lives across the road from me, & I completed the Census online. Since then he has had at least 4 Census takers come to his house and they all had I.D. I have had one who was also 1 of the 4 that went to his house. We gave them NO Personal Information but it is a complete waste of Taxpayer Money to be duplicated that many times. If the Census was done online that name shouldn't even be on the list for the Census takers.
August 29, 2020

In reply to by Loretta

If they didn’t leave a notice of visit it could be 1 of 2 things. Either your household was randomly selected to be re-interviewed for quality control purposes, (census wants to be sure information is being collect correctly for an accurate count). Or they having trouble reaching a neighbor of yours and need to find a proxy (yourself in this situation) in order to get accurate information about the occupancy of said neighboring home.
August 31, 2020

In reply to by Loretta

Same here they have been to my place 3 times and I had already done it online when the sent the card in the mail, I can't help how messed up they are and not giving them any info, the last guy argued with me and wouldn't leave I eventually slammed the door. Then heard another girl next door next day asking my neighbor if he knew anything about me!!!! That would be person number 4! Next time Im calling police
August 20, 2020
I am now getting texts from asking me to follow up on census. Or to text STOP if I don’t want the messages. In case it’s not real, I don’t want to text STOP. Is it real??
October 01, 2020

In reply to by Chuli

Agree! I am getting it too and can't believe they don't mention it anywhere in the internet. Only folks like us looking for info. If it is real it is also a real bad job by the folks deploying this survey.
August 21, 2020
the lady who came to my door at 8pm knocking, then as I had my hands full of soap from dishes and my a/c running she was getting nasty with me because I would not stand there for 15 minutes. She finally said I will leave this form with the code, you need to complete it, I shut my front door and she opened it and placed it on the floor of my foyer!! THIS IS NOT OK ! and is a form of breaking and entering, these people working for the government need to know boundaries!!!!
August 21, 2020
We filled out the census online, continue to get official requests in the mail, as well as, visits to our home, dropping off requests to respond to the census. It feels like harassment at this point. Next time, we will not use the online option. It's obviously not reliable, in our opinion.
August 25, 2020

In reply to by Alderman2

US TOO!!!! Agreed! this is crazy! Thanks for your post, we feel like we aren't alone in this--we did the right thing here...
August 27, 2020

In reply to by Alderman2

I filled two forms out , one short one long, and mailed them in at different times. They now won’t leave me alone, mail , phone, coming to my house. The last one that left info. gave me a deadline! This has now become harassment!
September 29, 2020

In reply to by VicCal

I just received my 4th census visit. I will not answer the door but, this person walked over my property taking pictures!!I have "POSTED" notices on my property. I finally yelled at her and told her to leave that I am calling the Sheriff. Mine was filled out in March online. I do not appreciate that they can ask neighbors about me one because the neighbors don't know anything about me and two it is against Privacy laws or should be. I alerted the local authorities.
FTC FANon't us…
August 21, 2020
Like all other efforts undertaken by the FTC, this article provides good information to assist people in sorting out whether or not the person is who they say they are.
Was frustrated
August 25, 2020
I filled the Census online, yet months later a local phone called and rattled off id number then commence to ask me questions about another home we own and use, if it was used for hunting, etc. Questions that were not on the form. I had told them numerous times that I had already filled it out. They tried to tell me there were many Census forms. I hung up immediately. I tried to call to see if the number was legit, No answer at any of the Census numbers.
Mike B.
August 22, 2020
I see that this has happened to others - I completed my census online months ago. I have a completion confirmation ID number, which I saved with a screenshot. Yesterday, there was a mailer on my door - it said the census takers had stopped by, and it had an authorization code on it, so I could complete the census online. What gives ?
August 23, 2020
I completed the census online many months ago. However, a census taker left a notice at my doorstep yesterday, requesting that I complete it. Why is am I receiving in-person visits if I’ve already completed it?
August 25, 2020
Census was filled out online months ago. Still received mailers after that, and now slips being left at the door to 'be sure to fill out the Census'. Such a waste of taxpayer dollars to fund this redundancy. If online doesn't count, quit pushing it as the solution!
August 25, 2020

In reply to by tp534

I spent a 1/2 hour on phone with census bureaus 1-800 no. after I filled out survey online, and got someone leaving notice at door. I had the same thing happened everyone else has. They should not send people to our doors when we've filled it out online. The census rep on phone should know to tell people to disregard the notice at door if filled out online. She read scripts to me and asked what the census id was on the notice. She said nothing came up. She thinks the id will tell her something. It doesn't. It brought up another form to fill out. People are so overwhelmed these days. This is too much duplication! I will not answer the door to anyone these days. There is too much crime and too many scammers. If there was an error, then the census bureau should send an email response like all other businesses, or a letter in the mail.
August 25, 2020
Noticed the site says it was updated recently and seems to indicate it was done so as reference for those who failed to respond to the Census. Yet scrolling through the comments I find like many others, I completed mine online, still receive the mailings as well personal visits. I asked this last agent how many times I needed to be counted. His reply was to ask if I thought it were some sort of conspiracy. What? No, just get the act together.
Census again...
August 27, 2020
I mailed my census in a long time ago, I have now completed the online form. No, I won't spend 15 minutes being interviewed by someone that comes by without an appointment - I was housecleaning and not looking forward to a visitor. No, it is not ok with me because the census worker is wearing a mask, or carries hand sanitizer. How many people did she visit before she arrived at my front door? How can I be sure she is in fact using her hand sanitizer and following proper safety precautions? How many more times must I fill out the census form until it is finally accounted for? Why did she stand outside my front door for almost 10 minutes after I told her I had already completed the census while the dog barked anxiously at the stranger outside?
August 28, 2020
I completed my census online several months ago. I have had 2 notice of visits left on my door. I see this is a common issue in these comments. Doesn't give me any confidence the census will be accurate.
August 28, 2020
My family and I are being harassed for two days now knocking loudly and banging on my door and shouting “I know you are there!” I told them not to open the door. I already filled my census months ago both mail and online and I get note on my door and these people are harassing me and my kids!! They should be trained to be professional and should not treat us like criminal!
August 29, 2020
I filled out the Census online in April and kept receiving new packets in the mail. When I contacted someone from the Census they said not to worry, that sometimes packets get mailed out again and to ignore the additional packets. Now in the past two days two different Census workers have come to my home and told me that there is no record of me having filled out the Census for my address. Very frustrating to have someone coming to your home during these times especially since I took the time to fill everything out online in order to avoid this.
Same here
September 07, 2020

In reply to by Cassandra

I filled out my census online back in the spring and now I just had someone at my door. I went back and filled it out again online. This time it was a much shorter questionnaire. Very odd.
August 30, 2020
Our family did the census via the online option (in April). However we continue to get notices & have census takes come to our home. The census taker stated our household was not on record as taking the census. Is there a problem with the website? There wasn’t any scam type behavior from the rep. But I’m curious if there will be an issue with online submissions?
August 31, 2020
I filled out a census online in March. I then moved in April. I have had three Census workers come to my new address and I told each of them I already filled out my census. The last one did not even knock, she just started to put a note that I was not there. I wonder if she gets paid per attempt. I heard her at the door and told her not to come by again as I already filled it out. She told me I needed to do another one. I explained to her that would be illegal and fraudulent as I’ve already completed one. I live in the same town just 5 miles away from my last home. I hope this is an isolated incident and not how the real Census is being conducted.
August 31, 2020
I’ve filled out the census online twice since April and I’ve had people knock on my door three times since then. My neighbors have the same issue. If the census bureau won’t bother to check to see if a census online has been filled out for a particular address perhaps a different better trained agency should be responsible for taking the census.
September 01, 2020
I completed my census online, and still someone came to my door. They had a census bag on their arm. I didn’t answer door as was home alone. Why are they coming to my house?
SoCal Resident
September 01, 2020
Add me to the list of people that filled out census form months ago and have interviewers show up.
September 02, 2020
I completed the census right after recieving it months ago. A notice has been left on my door. Why?
September 02, 2020
I have mailed in the Census form, talked to the Census Bureau via phone and filled it out online. I have filled out the form 10 times total and now a census worker keeps coming to my house. I was on my way to the doctor's office with a high fever and he tried to prevent me from getting into my car. He has tried to get into my house and becomes extremely persistent with it. I have showed him veritable proof that I not only field out the questionnaires but verified personal information. How many times does one person need to be verified?
September 02, 2020
I filled out the census online back in April (and took a screenshot of the confirmation number) -- it's now September and I had a notice of visit stuck in my door this evening, complete with an ID -- almost half of it isn't legible. I took several guesses at it on the Census website and none were correct. Unreal...
September 04, 2020
I have completed the census twice now, and yesterday an employee came to my house to try to get me to complete it for a THIRD time. I spoke to her supervisor who politely asked me to do it again and warned me that completing it for the third time does not mean I won’t be visited a fourth time. I plan on refusing every one of them from here on out. At this point it is harassment and there doesn’t seem to be any recourse for me.
September 04, 2020
I completed the Census onlinea while ago, we are still getting census takers at our door, today a notice on my door that the census bureau will be here September 8 My husband & I are 62 I had copd from pneumonia, it is a health risk to have to come to the door during the pandemic. Why are you sending census takers to households, that already filled out the census!
September 06, 2020
Completed censors online on March 14th. Kept receiving notices in the mail. This past week everyday day someone has come to the house. This is becoming harassment. How do you stop them from coming. Email confirmation number was givin to the first two Who came. I’m not giving anymore information to them.
R Phillips
September 06, 2020
I really don't think the Census bough knows what they are doing. I responded online over a month enough; yet I still an interrupted with knocks at my door. Why???????