Warning to Residents of COVID-19 Scam Linked to 2020 Census

FAIRFIELD –Chief Christopher Lyddy and the Fairfield Police Department would like to remind residents to be vigilant of potential scams surrounding the 2020 U.S. Census in the midst of COVID-19.

Residents should not respond to any fraudulent emails, text messages or social media posts stating that they need to respond to the 2020 U.S. Census in order to receive a COVID-19 stimulus check from the federal government. Scammers may use fraudulent census websites to retrieve personal information in exchange for false stimulus checks.

Responses to the 2020 Census form are not tied to COVID-19 stimulus checks from the federal government.

Residents should also be wary of any scammers posing as census workers and knocking on doors inquiring about money or personal information.

The 2020 U.S. Census Bureau will never ask for a social security number, bank account or credit card numbers, or for money or donations, and will never threaten jail time for not responding to the census. It will also never send unsolicited emails requesting participation in the census.

Chief Lyddy warns that residents should NEVER give personal information, money or home access to any solicitor. If a false census is sent to you, you should not fill it out and alert local authorities immediately.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) offers these recommendations to help identify if a census or census worker is legitimate:

  • A census worker who comes to your house will have a Census Bureau photo ID badge (with a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date) and a copy of the letter the bureau sent you. Ask for these and double check their name on the Census Bureau’s online staff directory.
  • Confirm that the questionnaire you’ve received is on the Census Bureau’s official list of household or business surveys.
  • Contact the bureau’s National Processing Center or the regional office for your state to verify that an American Community Survey or other census communication is real.
  • Check that a census mailing has a return address of Jeffersonville, Indiana, the site of the National Processing Center. If it’s from somewhere else, it’s not from the Census Bureau.
  • Check the URL of any supposed Census website. Make sure it has a census.gov domain and is encrypted — look for “https://” or a lock symbol in the browser window.

“It’s unfortunate how common it is to see scammers trying to take advantage of people during uncertain times,” said Chief Lyddy. “We would like to remind everyone to be aware of your surroundings and not accept any offers from people posing as census workers. The COVID-19 stimulus checks are not related to your 2020 U.S. Census information. Anyone claiming otherwise is a scammer.”

Additionally, residents should not partake in any COVID-19 testing from door-to-door solicitors, people who approach them at grocery stores or other community venues, solicitors who call requesting financial information in return for a test or mail COVID-19 test offerings. These fake tests are being sold for $200 to $500 and often allege immediate results.

Real tests must be completed by a trained professional and require lab analysis. Results take 1-5 days depending on the test being utilized. Anyone offering immediate results are partaking in a scam.

If anyone has questions or feels like they have been victimized, they are encouraged to call the Fairfield Police Department at 203-254-4800 (Option 0).

Connecticut residents who believe they are victims of fraud or other criminal activity related to the pandemic should contact the United States Attorney’s Office at [email protected] or call 1-888-221-6023 and leave a message. Members of the public can also contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by visiting www.IC3.gov.