FRAUDSTERS are using the census to target vulnerable Brits to scam them out of thousands of pounds.
ActionFraud and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are among the organisations warning Brits not to fall for the tricksters.
Read our Census 2021 live blog for the latest news, updates and useful tips…
The census is a national survey carried out every 10 years to gather information about the population to help inform national and local policy.
The questionnaire focuses on topics including religion, education, ethnicity and health.
Brits have a legal obligation to fill it out, with the deadline for responses being yesterday – Sunday March 21.
In England, those who refuse to fill it out or give false information risk being slapped with a £1,000 fine.
But scammers are still trying to cash in on the confusion by posing as officials and demanding money for fines.
Officials say they have received a number of reports of fraudsters turning up at people’s homes in person, cold calling or sending phishing emails.
There have been several occasions where victims have even handed over cash believing the claims were legitimate.
In other cases, vulnerable Brits have unwittingly disclosed their bank details and national insurance numbers, leaving their money vulnerable to cyber criminals.
Victims are unlikely to get their money back from the thieves unless they are caught and prosecuted.
ONS – the researchers that carry out the census – said it had heard of these types of scams taking place all over the country.
Earlier this month, Action Fraud warned: “Criminals may try to use this [the census] as an opportunity to send phishing emails or texts.”
The statement went on: “When filling out the census you will be asked for personal details such as your date of birth, your occupation and where you live.
“You will never be asked to provide your national insurance number or financial details.”
Cybersecurity exert at Egress, Tony Pepper, is urging everyone to hover over any links before clicking them in emails claiming to be about the census.