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      BBB warns Valley residents about census scams

      The 2010 U.S. Census could be the golden ticket for identity thieves, and the Better Business Bureau wants Valley residents to know how to protect themselves.

      "This is just one more way that people could try to get a hold of our personal information, so we as consumers need to make sure we're protecting it the best possible way we can," said Dolores Salinas, South Texas BBB president.

      The BBB warns Valley residents against people who may pose as Census employees and asks for money or social security numbers.

      "Do not give that information out to no one either by phone, in person or mail or email," said Salinas.

      What you should receive is a questionnaire in the mail in late March with a few simple questions about your name, age, birthday, race and whether you own or rent a home.

      U.S. Census Bureau spokesman Efren Salinas said filling out that questionnaire is required by law.

      "Keep in mind, you do not fill out the questionnaire, a Census employee will come knock on your door and ask you to fill out the questionnaire," said Efren Salinas.

      You can verify that the person knocking at your door is in fact a Census employee by calling your local U.S. Census bureau.

      The employee should have a badge, proper identification, a handheld device, a canvas bag, and a confidentiality disclaimer.

      If you feel you've been a victim of identity theft, contact your local law enforcement agency. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau and fill out a form to report the identity theft.