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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

'The Census Bureau knows this just opens up a Pandora's box to scammers' | Census begins sending emails

For the first time, the government is emailing people out of the blue. Census emails are being sent out. Look for the .gov address.

There are four characters you need to pay very close attention to: .gov.

For the first time ever, a government agency is going to email or text you out of the blue and you need to be on alert.

“For the longest time we said, the government will not email you and now they are, but it's just the Census. They may also send you a text,” explained Lechelle Yates of the Better Business Bureau. “The Census Bureau knows this just opens a Pandora’s box to scammers.”

The Census Bureau is going to start emailing and texting folks who haven't responded. The fear is that scammers will rip off the Census logo and make it look like an official email or text and get your money or information.

RELATED: Is it really a Census worker at your door?

To help with the possible confusion, the Census is making sure you know how to spot the real thing. When it comes to emails there are several addresses the Census is using depending if you're a household, a small business, or if you've opted in to other communications. The key to look for is .gov at the end. If it's a.gov it's the real thing.

Credit: Census Screen Grab

When it comes to Census texts the number will be from is 39242 and it will direct you to a link that ends in .gov.

Credit: WFMY

Even with you knowing all of this, there are other ways to know an email or text is real or not. The Census will never ask for:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your bank account or credit card numbers
  • Money or donations