TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Wednesday April 1 is Census Day and it comes with a warning from the Florida Attorney General about scammers using COVID-19 to try and steal personal information.
AG Ashley Moody wants Floridians to know that there is an emerging scam involving a false claim that Floridians must respond to the 2020 Census in order to receive a coronavirus stimulus payment.
The scam message usually includes a link that directs anyone who clicks on it to a fake website with prompts to provide sensitive personal information. While participating in the Census is mandatory, there is no connection between completing the Census and receiving a stimulus check.
“Scammers will try anything to steal from consumers, and with the stimulus payments on the way and a mandatory Census count underway, there is a perfect storm of fraud opportunities. Floridians need to stay informed about the Census count and educate themselves about the coronavirus stimulus package, so they will not be easily tricked by scammers trying use the news to make a dishonest dollar,” said Moody.
Remember, the Census count and stimulus payment are not connected in anyway. The Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails, or ask for Social Security numbers, bank account or credit card information, or money. Never click on links on any unsolicited messages about the Census or stimulus payments, and confirm that the return address on mail from the Census Bureau is Jeffersonville, Indiana.
The Bureau does ask for some personal information, such as the full names and dates of birth for every household member. However, the Bureau will not ask questions about how much money is in a bank account, passwords, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden name, work times or other questions that produce answers that might prove useful to identity thieves or cybercriminals.
Another type of scam to be aware of involves criminals who impersonate U.S. Census workers going door-to-door. The ultimate aim is to break into victims’ houses to steal money, property or commit violent acts. Official Census Bureau employees will have badges and ID numbers that can be confirmed by calling 1-800-923-8282.
For more tip on avoiding Census scams, click here.
Anyone who encounters a coronavirus stimulus package scam or any other type of COVID-19 fraud should contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office at 1-866-9NO-SCAM or MyFloridaLegal.com.