As census takers begin knocking on doors, it’s important to know the real federal employees from the scam artists.
But local law enforcement officials and the U.S. Census Bureau have been communicating to ensure everyone is on the same page.
“They will notify us of the areas they will be working in,” said Col. Jeff Strickland of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
Edward Davis, a partnership coordinator for the Census Bureau’s Atlanta office, said there are two things people should look for to identify a census worker.
“Census Bureau employees in the field are identified by a badge and a Census Bureau shoulder bag that’s black and white,” Davis said.
Those who are still uncertain are encouraged to call the U.S. Census Bureau or local law enforcement to identify anyone standing at the front door.
“We’ll be glad to come out and verify the person’s identity,” Strickland said.
If the person is unable to present a census ID, that is also cause to call the authorities.
Davis said a true Census Bureau employee will not mind proving who they are.
“The enumerator will simply wait and be very patient, we understand that,” Davis said. “We are very concerned about both the safety of residents and the safety of our employees.”
Other clues that could point to a scam is what kind of questions a census taker asks.
The 2010 census form is a straight-forward, 10-question survey with questions such as name, age and race.
“We never ask for Social Security information, there are no questions about your banking information and we never ask for any donations or anything like that,” Davis said.
Davis said it is more important than ever with this census to focus on security.
“Since the 2000 census, our country has changed immeasurably,” Davis said. “The tremendous rise in personal identity theft, and, of course, people can go out and duplicate documents and badges with all the high technology computer software, so we are very concerned about fraudulent incidents.”
Lt. Carol Martin of the Gainesville Police Department said police are trained and ready for the upcoming months as census information is collected.
“All our guys know what to look for,” Martin said. “I don’t think there’ll be any issues.”
Davis said the best way to avoid any suspicious incidents is to fill out and mail your census form by April 1.
“If they do that, they are done with the 2010 census. Can’t make it any plainer than that,” Davis said.