Scam Alert: The 2020 Census

Alachua County Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton presented a Census scam to the Board of County Commissioners and said he wants all residents to be on the lookout.

“I’m sorry to have to report that there are some Census scams starting to turn up,” he told the BOCC at the March 10 meeting

“One that the National Census asked us to bring to the attention of citizens was a mailer that is going out with QR Codes,” he said.

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Mark Sexton

QR Codes are black and white matrix barcodes that can be scanned by a smartphone.

“Those are going to a false website,” Sexton said about where the scan leads to. “Where people get the impression that they are filling out the Census.”

That personal information is then gathered by the scammers and can be used for identity theft.

Sexton reminded the BOCC, “The Census does not use QR codes on any print material, any social media material, any website.

He encourages anyone who receives the material to report it immediately.

According to Sexton, Alachua County lost $400 million in funding due to inaccurate data and underreporting of the population in Alachua County during the 2010 Census.

The County is taking extra measures to get the word out and promote participation in the Census by encouraging employers to give employees time to fill out surveys during work on April 1.

The County declared in a proclamation that April 1 is “Census Day,” and note that residents can complete the Census by mail, over the phone and online.

Alachua County is asking all public institutions to allow employees 20 minutes on April 1 to complete their Census Form.

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