I’m writing this blog post because a friend of mine, Tom Lenzo, a business & technology consultant in Pasadena California, recently sent me an email he received from the FBI about the census and possible scammers taking advantage of another opportunity to misrepresent themselves so as to get your money.
Here is the gist of the FBI reminder plus tips from the Better Business Bureau:
Preparation for the 2010 Census is well underway nationwide. April 1, 2010 is “Census Day” however there is lots of preparation and marketing that needs to be done between now and then to ensure that EVERYONE IS COUNTED. This is the first in a series of messages that we will send to remind you to do your part to ensure your household, and your community, is counted. Check out www.census.gov for schedules, timelines, partnership and more. Remember, the 2010 Census form will be the shortest in history with just 10 questions.
Regarding the Census, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends the following:
Be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the county. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data.
Additionally, the BBB points out that
—If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.
—Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census.
—The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. Anyone asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau.
—AND REMEMBER, THE CENSUS BUREAU HAS DECIDED NOT TO WORK WITH ACORN ON GATHERING THIS INFORMATION. No Acorn worker should approach you saying he/she is with the Census Bureau.
—Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will NOT contact you by Email, (boldface mine. JRA) so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.
For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit www.bbb.org
Visit www.census.gov for frequently asked questions and other details.
Years ago, we got scammed out of something like $10,000 at the computer dealership in McAllen Texas where I was Vice President of Sales and Marketing because of identity theft. Even since, I’ve been conscious of the fact that small businesses can pay a high price for not being alert. In this case, it will be you, your families, and your employees and their families who can pay that price.
If you’ve read several of my blog posts about heart-centered, soft sell sales and marketing, you know that the difference between this approach to customers and hard sell lies in which comes first, the customer’s needs or your commission or profit. In the case of these scammers who steal your identity to then deplete your money and ruin your credit, you are only the victim being sacrificed. Scammers must sell you on giving them the information they need to access your accounts. But they aren’t true salespeople because there is no exchange of value.
What sales line will you buy into related to The U.S. Census? Hopefully none. The scammers will be out to steal your identity so be cautious. Don’t give out Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone. Moreover, census workers won’t be asking for donations for any cause. And don’t invite them into your home. I encourage you to share this information with family and friends and co-workers. Heart-centered, soft sell sales and marketing cares about you and your needs. You will have an exchange of value. Scammers are thieves who take only.
My first Kindle eBook, How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses, went live on April 24, 2012. https://amzn.to/2BaP2AH I've lived a lifetime of service and spiritual search so it's natural for me to incorporate these attitudes into my work. I believe that selling and marketing are spiritual service when done with a heart-centered, relationship selling approach. All of business success comes down to building strong relationships.
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