Financial Tip of the Week from the Iowa Bankers Association:
2010 census forms were mailed to every residence in the U.S. in March. Consumers should be on alert for potential scams related to the census.
Along with legitimate mailings from the U.S. Census Bureau, you could receive fake mailings sent by scammers trying to steal your identity. It's important to note that any legitimate request for census information will be clearly marked as coming from the U.S. Census Bureau and as OFFICIAL BUSINESS of the United States.
To complete your legitimate census form, you'll just need to answer 10 short questions and mail the form back in the envelope provided. If you don't mail your census form back, you'll soon receive a visit from a census taker who will knock on your door and ask you questions from the form. You should know that the Census Bureau will never:
If someone claiming to be a census taker comes to your door, the Census Bureau recommends asking to see the worker's ID badge. All census workers carry official government badges. You may also ask them for a photo ID from another source to confirm their identity. The U.S. Census Bureau says that most importantly, census workers will never, under any circumstances, ask to enter your home. Be cautious of anyone who tries to enter your home or asks for donations.
You should also be on alert for potential e-mail scams. The Census Bureau does not conduct the 2010 Census via the Internet and does not send e-mails about participating or to collect information. If you receive an e-mail that may be a scam, do not reply or click on any links within the e-mail. Criminals may try to send an e-mail directing you to enter sensitive information at a fake website that seems legitimate. This scam, known as "phishing," may be an attempt to fraudulently gather your personal financial information. The Census Bureau suggests forwarding suspicious e-mails and questionable Web links to the Census Bureau at ITSO.Fraud.Reporting@census.gov. Then be sure to delete the e-mail in question.
Learn more about the 2010 Census online at www.2010.census.gov.
These financial tips are provided by the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA), representing banks and thrifts in the state. For more information go to www.iowabankers.com.