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Census Bureau issues ‘field representative’ warning

Farragut residents should be on alert for scammers who may attempt to pass themselves off as U.S. Census Bureau workers.

According to Michael Gregorio, a public information officer with the Census Bureau, a valid field representative will be easily recognizable.

That representative “must present an ID badge which contains a photograph of the field representative, Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date,” Gregorio said in an e-mail.

Field representatives also would provide any resident with supervisor contact information, or the regional office phone number for verification, if he or she were asked.

Valid field representatives also will provide residents with “a letter from the director of the Census Bureau on U.S. Census Bureau letterhead.”

Very importantly, Gregorio said, citizens only will be asked 10 questions, available for viewing at

The census form includes questions about the number of people living in a home, the race and gender of those people and who owns the home.

There are no questions about social security numbers or other private or confidential information.

“Residents should only answer these questions from the form,” Gregorio said.

“Ten questions. Ten minutes. It’s safe, easy, and important,” he added.

The form does ask for the phone number of the residence.

“Question 5 on the form asks for your phone number, and that is there for a census worker to reach the person if they don’t understand an answer [for example] due to penmanship,” Gregorio said.

The census forms will be mailed out in March, and citizens should fill them out and mail them back to the Census Bureau as soon as possible.

April 1, Census Day, should be used as the reference point to answer the questions. For example, Question 1 is how many people are living in the home April 1, 2010.

According to Gregorio, citizens who do not return census form by the end of April will receive a face-to-face visit from Census Bureau enumerators.

“Repeated attempts are made by enumerators if the resident is not able to be reached through the spring and summer, greatly increasing the cost of the census,” he said.

“Residents can save the country this expense by mailing in the forms,” he added.

Gregorio also made it clear the Census Bureau was not working with representatives of ACORN.

“At no time was ACORN or any other partner handling any census data or to be involved in the 2010 Census operations and door-to-door collection activities next spring,” Gregorio said.

“Only sworn Census Bureau employees conduct the census.”

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