The U.S. Census Bureau has begun sending out surveys for this year's once-in-a-decade census. And with the surveys, come opportunities for scammers to try and steal your identity and your hard-earned cash.
Experts warn that scammers will be posing as census workers and counterfeit census documents are bound to end up in your mailbox, in your inbox. They might even try to reach you over the phone or through your social media profiles.
"The census is absolutely necessary because it's how government funds are allocated," said Eva Velasquez, CEO for the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego. "But before you fill anything out, take a few moments and make sure the document you are looking at is from the Census Bureau and not some scammer trying to take advantage of you."
One way to do that, said Velasquez, is by visiting the U.S. Census Bureau's website and opting to fill out the survey online as opposed to in writing.
And keep in mind that no survey will ask for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card number. If they do, then chances are it's a ruse.
Also, Velasquez warns to be very cautious if any census worker contacts you on social media, or calls you on the phone.
"If you get a call saying you owe money, or that the police are on their way, hang up immediately because that is definitely a scam," said Velasquez.