Ah, the days when snake oil salesmen only traveled from city to city selling their dubious medical cures. Now with today’s technology, scam artists are found everywhere: at your door, on the phone, by email and now even text messages.
Using all these means, what better time for scam artists to ply their trade than during the 2020 Census when the Census does ask detailed questions about things like income, assets, job status, and household amenities - which in most every other case is no one’s busy. (I heard of one person who has already been visited by someone claiming to be a Census Taker - and the Census doesn’t start till April 1st!)
Even though we are just entering the month of February and only dreaming about April, it’s not too early to know the warning signs to look for during this decade’s census.
When a census taker comes to your door, check for their valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. Also, they will never ask you for money or financial data, such as the amount in your bank account, Social Security number, or mother’s maiden name. And they will never threaten you with arrest - although you can be fined for not participating.
Online if you receive an email from the Census Bureau be suspicious. The agency almost always makes contact by mail. They don’t send unsolicited emails. If you do receive such an email don’t reply, click links or open attachments - and forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org. And for any website that claims to be a Census website, check the web address. Make sure it has a census.gov domain and is encrypted: look for https:// or a lock symbol in the browser window.
If you receive anything by mail, check to see if the return address includes the U.S. Department of Commerce or U.S. Census Bureau and Jeffersonville, Ind. - the site of the National Processing Center. You may also receive a reminder letter from one of the Census Bureau’s regional offices or headquarters in the Washington, D.C. area.
If you receive a phone call don’t trust caller ID — scammers can use “spoofing” tools to make it appear they’re calling from a real Census Bureau number. Call the National Processing Center at 800-523-3205 or 800-642-0469 to verify the phone survey is legitimate. There are valid reasons why you may be called such as if they don’t find you at home or when a personal visit is not convenient.
The goal of the 2020 Census is a complete and accurate count - but worrying that you might be a sucker for some scam makes reaching that goal even more difficult. If you do encounter anything suspicious, call the regional office for Oregon (818) 267-1700 or 1-800-992-3530; or call 800-923-8282 to speak with a Census Bureau representative. Also the U.S. Census has an excellent and comprehensive secure website at https://www.2020census.gov/ where you can learn more about the Census and how to apply to become a Census taker.
The program for the 2020 Original Courthouse Regional History Forum on Saturday February 8th is “The Women of Sorosis: Social ‘Influencers’ of Their Day”. Denise Dietrich Bokum will share the far-reaching contributions of women leaders in The Dalles who gave Sorosis Park its name. Program begins at 1:30 pm.
The title of the epic historical film about an English officer who successfully united and led the diverse Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks was Lawrence of Arabia. I received correct answers from Carol Earl, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Sam Bilyeu, Deloris Schrader, Rhonda Austin, Ruth Radcliffe, Jim Ayers, Bill Marick, Sandy Haechrel and Michael Murat this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.
On the first Wednesday of the next several months I’m going to ask a local history question about businesses that once were located at a different location. For this week it’s a two-part “Remember When” question. What business use to be where St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store is now? And what business use to be where Sawyers Ace Hardware and Rental is now? Email your answer to email@example.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop off your answers on the back of a crisp hundred dollar bill.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to take care of business. Until we meet again, I’ve found the answer to most every important question is “It’s complicated!”.
“A friend is someone who picks you up when no one else realized you have fallen.” Mar Razalan