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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2010

Consider security factors as Census time approaches

By Sean Bowlin 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

With identity theft on the rise and a heightened sense of terrorism awareness in Americans' minds since 9-11, Randolph residents, Airmen and local retirees must consider security factors when someone claiming to be a U.S. Census Bureau employee knocks on their doors.

According to the government's official census web site,, there are some basic recognition tips to verify a field census representative's identity.

First, the field representative must present an identification badge that contains a Department of Commerce watermark and expiration date.

Also, the field representative may be carrying a bag with a Census Bureau logo. If asked, the field representative will provide supervisor contact information and the regional office phone number for verification. He can also show a letter from the Census Bureau director on official letterhead.

Master Sgt. Rob Cedillo, a 21-year San Antonio Police Department detective and Air Force Reserve operations sergeant with the 12th Security Forces Squadron, said when an off-base Airmen or retiree has questions about the validity of someone purporting to be a Census taker, he should call the police department of his local municipality to ascertain if Census workers are, in fact, working in their city that day.

"And if they are suspicious, they can always say no to the questions," the sergeant added. "Plus, if they don't feel that the situation is on the up-and-up, they can contact the local Census office as well. Or, you can ask them to return at another time, or ask them for a contact number of a supervisor to verify the Census taker's identity. And if it still seems suspicious, call your local police department and give the vehicle's make, license plate and model and a description of the purported Census taker."

Field representatives will be going from door to door April to July 2010, knocking on the door of every household that does not mail back a completed 2010 Census form. That's why the web site said it's critical that each American takes just 10 minutes to fill out and mail back the form rather than wait for a census worker to show up.

Also, $85 million in taxpayer dollars are saved for every one percent increase in mail response. The Census Bureau's goal is to get a census form to - and a completed form back from - every residence in the United States. That's more than 130 million addresses.

Field representatives going door to door will not ask for social security number, bank account number, or credit card number. Census workers also never solicit for donations and will never contact you by e-mail. The 2010 Census will ask for name, gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship, and whether you own or rent your home - just 10 simple questions that will take about 10 minutes to answer. Answers are protected by law.

The Census Bureau safeguards all census responses to the highest security standards available; all Census Bureau employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, or any other government agency. Individual census records are not shared with anyone.

The web site said the easiest way to keep Census information safe is to fill out the census form and mail it back right away. Also, remember the Census Bureau will never ask for any information to be submitted online.

For more detailed information, consult