Crooks running Census scams
The U.S. Census does not officially begin until April, but identity thieves have already used the event to rip off unsuspecting South Florida residents.
The thieves, passing themselves off as Census takers, have talked their way into Miami-Dade homes and then have asked for sensitive, personal information that the Census does not collect, according to police.
That information includes Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and personal identification numbers, which can be later used to wipe out accounts or run up credit card debt.
Also, once inside, the impostors have asked for a glass of water or to use the bathroom.
When the home's occupants are out of sight, the criminals have stolen cash and jewelry.
Additionally, mass e-mails falsely claiming to be from the Census Bureau have been sent out requesting recipients' personal information, which would actually be used to open fraudulent accounts.
``We are attempting to get in front of this and prevent victims from this ruse,'' Miami-Dade police said in a written statement.
Should you receive a request for the following information, police urge you not to give it out and to contact your local law enforcement agency: Social Security numbers, bank account or personal identification information, credit card account information or any other identifying numbers such as driver's license, visa, passport or alien numbers.
In addition, the Census does does not solicit information via e-mail or gather pre-Census information.