If Only We Could Reverse Phone Lookup Census Visits

It's Census time again. Every ten years the Census workers begin to canvass our cities to verify physical addresses and update the population's statistical information. Unfortunately, this provides robbers everywhere with yet another excellent opportunity to raid homes while impersonating Census employees.

Already the Census Web site is sporting a warning video delineating how to recognize an authentic Census worker, and newscasters everywhere are spreading the word. The real Census reps have ID badges (not hard to fake) and carry GPS systems (easy to imitate). The real telling difference is they will never try to come inside your home - it's not necessary for their purpose. Except if it's a robber who wants to push his way into your home once you open the door; then you may not have much say in it, after all.

If only Census would ring before knocking. These days, many government entities may call your cell phone with survey questions, because they can no longer rely on every household having land lines. Well, when I see an unfamiliar phone number on the Caller ID, I immediately refer to a reverse phone lookup. Those people do ask some sensitive personal questions, and to be comfortable you must know they are really who they say they are - before you answer.

That's now pretty easy to do. All you need to do is to run a quick online reverse phone lookup, to confirm that they are calling from where they say they're calling from. You can ask the callers to hold on a moment, as you verify their identity. It's not that easy when face to face with a potential robber. Maybe Census will read my complaints and consider revising the age-old process of going door-to-door unannounced, but that just doesn't seem very likely.