By Carly O'Keefe
DU QUOIN, IL (KFVS) - Apparently some scammers are taking advantage of that feeling of civic responsibility that goes along with filling out the census.
Ruth Ann Furlow of rural Du Quoin says a couple weeks ago she filled out the Census and dropped it back in the mail. But she felt a little funny about some of the information she was asked to give.
"My name verification, address, age, sex, color, and it asked for my social security number and signature," said Furlow. "I did think that was kind of odd, because what I'd always been told - the only one you should give your social security number to is the federal government."
She figured, since it was the federal government, or what she assumed was the federal government asking for that info, she would give it.
"Filled it out, stuck it in the envelope and mailed it with everything else that day," Furlow said.
But when she learned there may be fraudulent Census forms circulating, she thought maybe that wasn't such a good idea. That's when she made some phone calls to the Census Bureau.
"They said they never ask for your signature or your social security number," Furlow said.
Now someone may have all of the above from Furlow. It's the latest in a long line of scams aimed at getting a hold of your identity, but this scam may have the potential to take even the savviest folks to the bank.
"People are afraid what's going to happen if they don't fill out the Census," said Du Quoin Police Chief Mike Ward. "That's your civic duty and they're gonna do it. And then months, years down the road they've got a lousy credit rating and there are bill collectors at the door. You've just gotta protect yourself."
Now Furlow is running interference, making phone call after phone call to the credit bureaus, banks and the Justice Department, trying to protect her good name before a scammer takes advantage of it.
"It's been six hours worth and it's not over yet," said Furlow.