Starting next month, all families in the United States will be invited to complete the 2020 Census. Because of how high-profile the count is, police say it's also an inviting time for scammers.
You will receive your census invitation either by postal mail or from an official Census Bureau worker who visits your home. That means you should ignore fishy emails claiming to be census-related.
"Look into it, go online and Google the U.S. Census Bureau, call the number if you're unsure. Don't just automatically respond with sensitive, personal information," said Trooper Anthony Petroski, Troop N Community Service Officer for the Pennsylvania State Police.
Authorities are especially warning against emails that contain hyperlinks.
"That's what can contain the virus, hacking information, things like that. Don't click on the hyperlinks inside an email," said Trooper Petroski.
If a census worker does come to your door, there are ways to make sure they're legitimate.
"A worker will have to have an identification card with their photo on it. It will also include a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark on it which is extremely hard to reproduce. That will also have an expiration date," said Trooper Petroski.
Police say the door to door canvassing is a golden opportunity for census imposters to try to break in to your house.
"Basically someone will come to your front door from a water company, the Census Bureau, and they might try to talk to you about things like your water is out, are you having electrical problems and then somebody's actually going in through your back door while you're distracted," said Trooper Petroski.
Police say always call authorities if you feel unsafe.
"Do your due diligence. If you think it's an imposter, someone that doesn't work for them, don't open the door for them and call 911," said Trooper Petroski.
Census invitations will be delivered to most homes by postal mail in mid-March.
You're asked to respond by April 1st, the official "Census Day."
In the following months, census workers will begin visiting those families who have not responded