Census scam text: Britons urged to watch out for penalty fine messages after 2021 census | Personal Finance | Finance
For other people who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire, a census field officer may also knock on the door of a person’s home, to provide help and encouragement. Every household is required by law to complete the census, and failing to do so could result in a person being issued with a fine of up to £1,000 and even getting a criminal record.
Field officers do not need to enter the person’s home, and they cannot issue fines.
Additionally, they will carry ID to show they are genuinely working on the census.
Action Fraud also states they will be wearing official Census branded high vis garments.
As well as genuine field officers visiting people’s door steps, official census-branded reminder letters are being sent by post to households who haven’t yet completed their census.
If a person receives this letter, they’re directed to complete the census as soon as possible.
Sadly though, scammers may also purport to be from the official census team, so Britons should be cautious.
People who have already submitted their form can ignore any reminder letter, Action Fraud confirmed.
In an effort to reduce the risk of people falling victim to census scams, a question and answer guide has been produced by the reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.
Within it, Action Fraud explains what happens for those who have missed Census Day, and whether they would be fined for a late submission.
It also highlights how messages in which the sender attempts to take money for a “late or incorrect” submission are not official and should not be trusted.
“People still have time to complete their census and should do so as soon as possible to avoid getting a fine,” the guide states.
“Any letters, phone calls, texts, or emails, attempting to take payment for a late or incorrect submission now are not genuine.”
So, how can a fine be imposed for those who haven’t completed the census form?
“For a fine to be imposed your case must go to court for non-completion of the census,” the warning explains.
“Any fines issued for those refusing to complete their census, will be done via the courts.
“You will never be issued with a fine by text message, phone call or email.”
If a person receives a suspicious message or finds a website asking for money related to the census, Britons are urged to steer well clear.
“The ONS have a Cyber Intelligence Team who are taking down fake sites related to the Census,” Action Fraud states.
“If you find a site that looks suspicious or receive text messages with links to sites asking for money related to the census, do not engage with them.
“Report them to the Census 2021 Contact Centre by ringing 0800 141 2021 in England and 0800 169 2021 in Wales.”