Fairfield Police warn about census and coronavirus scam

FAIRFIELD — Police are asking residents to keep their eyes out for a census scam during the coronarius pandemic, according to a press release from the Fairfield Police Department.

“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,” the release said. “Scammers may use fraudulent census websites to retrieve personal information in exchange for false stimulus checks.”

The release said responses to the 2020 Census are not tied to COVID-19 stimulus checks in any way. It also said 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,”the release said. “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 release said the American Association of Retired Persons had several recommendations to help identify if a census or census worker is legitimate. They included asking to see a census workers badge and checking the staff directory for it on census.gov, contacting the national processing center or regional office to verify that a survey is real and checking that a census mailing has a return address of Jeffersonville, Indiana, the site of the National Processing Center.

"It's unfortunate how common it is to see scammers trying to take advantage of people during uncertain times," said Chief Christopher 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."

The release also reminded that Fairfield residents should not partake in any coronavirus testing from door-to-door solicitors, people who approach them at grocery stores or other community venues or 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,” the release said. “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 USAMA.victimassistance@usdoj.gov 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.