If someone knocks on your door, claiming to be a representative of the Department of Home Affairs, don’t listen to them! That’s because there is no Department of Home Affairs, federally nor in New York.
Be aware if they tell you they’re from the Department of Home Affairs and they’re collecting information for the upcoming Census — the next Decennial Census is not until 2030. Census Bureau workers conduct various polls year-round, but they work for the U.S. Census Bureau, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, not the Department of Home Affairs.
This is the basic premise of a new scam that is reportedly popping up in Brooklyn, specifically in Marine Park. According to posts circulating on Facebook and the NextDoor app, there are people going door-to-door pretending to be “home affairs officers.” They say they have to confirm everyone has a valid ID card for the upcoming Census, sometimes even requesting to take a photograph of the resident or a scan of their thumbprint.
“Please note that no such initiative has been taken by the government,” the social media post reads in part. “They are everywhere, and they look presentable.”
Supposedly, the scammers carry a laptop, a biometric machine and a list of all the residents on the block. They may also present an ID to appear legitimate. After trying to get information from the resident, the scammers may try to gain access to the house, looting the home if they do get access.
The Canarsie Courier has not been able to confirm with the NYPD the existence or scope of this scam, but it’s good to be vigilant. Commanding Officer Rachael Kosak and the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) for Marine Park did not respond to a request for comment.
At a Build the Block meeting in March, 63rd Precinct Sector C NCO Felicia Grant said that it was the first time she was hearing about this scam. A couple of attendees said they had seen the social media posts, but no one experienced it themselves or knew anyone who had experienced it.
Grant — whose sector covers Mill Basin, Old Mill Basin and Georgetown — advised residents not to open the door to strangers and to never allow strangers into your home. “My advice: definitely don’t open the door, call 911 immediately and we’ll come and see what’s really going on,” Grant said.