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US Census 2020 LogoThe U.S. Census is coming up in 2020.  The Federal Trade Commission knows that there are going to be scammers trying to pose as census takers.  Here’s how to spot the scammers and make sure you can contribute to the legitimate census.

When will I receive the census invitation?

In March of 2020, the Census Bureau will mail and hand deliver invitations to participate in the census.  You should get your invitation by April 1, 2020.  You can respond online, by phone, or by mail.  It is important to take the census because it affects how federal funds are distributed.

In May 2020, census takers will visit homes that have not responded.  Census takers return to homes up to six times if you’re not home.

What questions are on the census?

The questions include: how many people are in the home, their sex, age, race, and ethnicity, their relationships to one another, phone number, and whether your own or rent.  Here is the full list of questions.  The answers are confidential.

The census will never ask you for:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Money or donations
  • Anything for a political party
  • Your bank or credit card account numbers
  • Citizenship status

If you receive any of those requests, you know it is a scam.

How do I know it’s a real census taker?

Census takers must show photo ID with the U.S. Department of Commerce seal and an expiration date.  Upon request, the census taker will give you their supervisor’s contact information or regional office phone number to verify their identity.  Contra Costa’s census website has more information on our local census.

If you are getting a call from the census bureau, here is how to identify if the call is coming from them.  They have two contact centers, one in Tucson, Arizona, and another in Jeffersonville, Indiana.   You can verify that a number is from the census bureau by calling 1-800-923-8282, the customer service center.

Where can I find more information?

For more info, check out  They have a helpful article on common rumors about the census and the real answers.