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.

September 07, 2020
No mask and no social distance upon visit. Keep pushing the masks-census takers are, apparently 'exempt'.
September 09, 2020
are Census workers allowed to walk around your property??? i see on my ring doorbell someone opening my gate and walking around my property? when she did finally approach the door i asked her why...she responded, legally i am allowed to...
September 09, 2020
I tried to complain about the repeated unnecessary visits by census workers after doing the census before April 1st and answering all their questions. Kept getting put in circles among all these numbers. Central Coast California is our location. Census workers seem to be wasting time by re-visiting. 1-844-330-2020 Main #, Generic, transferred me to: 1-800-923-8282 Main #, Generic, transferred me to: 1-213-314-6500 State office transferred me to: 1-408-961-0635 San Jose Regional Office, transferred me back to step 1 after calling twice to explain to them that I was being sent in circles.
September 09, 2020
I think it would be safer and more effective for your census workers if you would provide them with better signage or at least a decal for their vehicles. Residents would feel better with that than an unmarked personal vehicle driving down private driveways.
September 09, 2020
I completed the census in March, and I did not have an Census ID at the time. I received a Notice of Visit yesterday while I was at work: Why did someone stop by if I filled out the Census 6 months ago?
Donbigpig46't …
September 11, 2020
this should of been easy but they want more.
September 11, 2020
Listen, the slew of Harassment that I have endured from Census takers since moving to my new address, one month this week is just incredible! I filled out the census online in May 2020, but that's not enough? The Census Bureau needs to get it's act together.
September 11, 2020
I answered the Census online when I first received it. Then in July a lady came to my house and I answered all her questions. Then another lady came to my house and again I answered all her questions for the 3rd time and I even told her this was the 3rd time. Just now a man came to the house asking me to do it again. I am getting really annoyed with this. Is there a way to keep them from coming again and again. This is ridiculous. I am trying to not be rude to these workers but they are trying to make a living but seriously, leave me alone already.
It's harassment.
September 26, 2020
Mailed it in back in April. I'm getting harassed now with multiple visits to my home.
Trying not to …
September 28, 2020
This is getting ridiculous, I spent 30 minutes with a Census representative answering all the questions needed. Since then I have had 6 more representatives show up at my home. When I called I was told there is no way to update the system that my house has already been completed.
September 28, 2020
In two days THREE census people have shown up at our house. It’s becoming more like harassment! Everything was completed online and four people in a two weeks have been knocking on our door. So over this!
September 29, 2020
I’m a census worker. When residents tell me they already completed their census form, I ask whether it’s for the CURRENT address. Some people move after Census Day (April 1, 2020) and might have completed it for the PREVIOUS address. We are required to get info on residents as of Census Day, if known.
September 29, 2020
I did our census in April online. I have had 7 different groups of census people show up at my door this past month to try to get me to do it again. I gave them my confirmation number from doing it online and they are still showing up. It is SO annoying and I totally feel harassed by it. It needs to end.
November 17, 2020
I filled out the form online and continue to get phone calls and someone leaving notes at my house. This is getting to be borderline harrassment with how much they are calling or coming to my house.
December 12, 2020
I received and went online as soon as I got the info by mail .Filed and then today 12/12/2020 a census taker came to my home wanting the same info I had already supplied via online website months ago . I was concerned wondering why.
Don't use gabr…
December 24, 2020
I have already filled my 2020 census online I still have my confirmation that I fill in out for my address now they have sent me this lengthy booklet to fill out I have already done my civil duty I would like to stop being harassed when is enough .......! Enough
February 03, 2021
Is it possible today, February 2021, that a census rep would be coming to my neighbors home to fill out the census?
April 29, 2021
I completed the census online early in the process. Now I keep getting paper copies in the mail telling me to complete the census. Do not want to take the time to do it again and think it would be dishonest anyway. What do I do? Who Is keeping track of the completed surveys anyway?
June 07, 2021
I was surprised by a worker this last week asking for interviews for the 3rd time. I filled it out online. Then I had a gentleman come last summer, then the fall and now spring. Next, I’ll follow the others and stop answering the door. This is not right. Gov, get it together!
August 17, 2021

In reply to by 3rdtime

I completed mine online spring 2020. Then participated in 3 more interviews in the fall for "quality control". Now I have some creepy guy at my door at 7:20 this morning while I'm getting dressed for work and as I type this he's parked on his motorcycle in front of my home partially blocking my driveway waiting for me. I feel stalked! What kind of man does this?
August 24, 2021
There is a so called census worker going around and demanding to go in ones home, claiming they have to inspect the inside to see if they should condemn an elderly persons residence.