FACT CHECK: 2020 Census Hoax Claims Robbers Are Posing As ‘Department Of Home Affairs’ Officials

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 1,000 times claims that robbers disguised as “officials” from the “Department of Home Affairs” are going door-to-door to confirm people have valid I.D.s for the 2020 Census.

“Please alert your family and friends,” reads the end of the message.

Verdict: False

The Census Bureau identified the message as a hoax that appears to have originated in South Africa. Valid I.D.s are not required to participate in the 2020 Census.

Fact Check: 

The federal government conducts a census every ten years to count the entire U.S. population, including non-citizens and illegal immigrants. Census takers sometimes go door-to-door in neighborhoods to verify addresses, collect survey responses, drop off census materials and conduct quality checks, according to the Census Bureau.

The Facebook post, which has been shared more than 1,000 times, claims that robbers are going door-to-door disguised as “officials” from the “Department of Home Affairs” to confirm people have valid identification for the 2020 Census. It features an alleged photo of an “Urgent Community Notice” for Jersey City, New Jersey residents.

Through a quick internet search, the Daily Caller discovered that the Census Bureau has debunked this “Urgent Community Notice” as a hoax on its website.

“This is a hoax that originated overseas,” reads the Census Bureau website. “The truth is, census employees are in neighborhoods across the country as they prepare for the next year’s census. However, census employees are not asking the public for any identification.”

No valid I.D. is required to take the 2020 Census, and no “Department of Home Affairs” exists within the federal government. (RELATED: Do 1 In 5 People In The US Speak Spanish?)

The hoax appears to have originated in South Africa, which does have a Department of Home Affairs. In South Africa, the Home Affairs Department manages immigration and distributes identification documents, among other functions.

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has also debunked the claim as a “social media scam” on Twitter.

Media statement: Social Media scam alert pic.twitter.com/J8TXiCycTJ

— HomeAffairsSA (@HomeAffairsSA) September 2, 2019

“Besides not asking the public for any identification, the Census Bureau will never ask you for your Social Security number, your bank account information, your credit card numbers, or for money and/or donations during the 2020 Census,” reads the Census Bureau website.

Census takers identify themselves as Census Bureau employees, show their Department of Commerce identification badges and have briefcases with the bureau’s logo when they go door-to-door, according to the Census Bureau.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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