Watch out for scams related to census 2021

6 Apr 2021 02:58 PM

Every household is required by law to complete the census and even though Census Day – 21 March 2021 – has been and gone, it is not too late to complete a questionnaire. If you don’t complete it, you may be fined.

Official census-branded reminder letters are being sent by post to households who have not yet completed their census. A census field officer may also knock on the door of a home to provide help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online and direct them to any support services they might need.

To help keep you safe from census-related scams, read our handy Q&A below.

I haven’t filled in my census yet – will a receive a reminder about doing so?

The ONS will send census branded reminder letters by post to households who have not yet completed their census. If someone receives a reminder letter they should complete their census as soon as possible. If they have already submitted their census form they can ignore any reminder letter.

A census field officer may also knock on the door of your home. The role of field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online, or on paper, and direct them to any support services they might need to complete it. They will not enter the household, and will carry ID to show they are genuinely working on the census.

Field officers will never ask for payment or bank details.

I missed Census Day – will I be fined for a late submission?

People still have time to complete their census and should do so as soon as possible to avoid getting a fine. Any letters, phone calls, texts, or emails, attempting to take payment for a late or incorrect submission now are not genuine.

For a fine to be imposed your case must go to court for non-completion of the census. 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.

I’ve received an email/text that says I need to pay a fine because I haven’t filled in my census, is this legitimate?

For a fine to be imposed your case must go to court for non-completion of the census. You will never be issued with a fine by text message, phone call, email, or on social media. You will not be fined for a mistake on your census.

The ONS have a Cyber Intelligence Team who are taking down fake sites related to the Census. 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

Do census field officers get in touch before they visit? Do I need to book an appointment?

Households who have not completed their census will receive a reminder letter in the post. Field officers do not get in touch with you before they visit and you do not need to make an appointment for them to attend your home. However, you can book an appointment with the public contact centre to complete your Census over the telephone if you do not want to complete it online.

What happens when the field officers visit your home?

The role of field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online, or on paper, and direct them to any support services they might need to complete it.  

The only personal information a field officer requires is your name. If you need a new online code to fill out the census, you will be asked to provide your phone number.

Field officers will never ask to see personal documents like passports, pay slips or birth certificates. Field officers will never ask for payment or your bank details. They will never ask for your national insurance number.

Field officers do not need to enter your home.

How do I know a field officer is legitimate?

Census field officers carry ID to show they are genuinely working on the census and will be wearing Census branded high vis. They do not need to enter your home and they cannot issue fines.

Will census field officers ask for my personal information?

The only personal information a field officer requires is your name. If you need a new online code to fill out the census, you will be asked to provide your phone number.

Field officers will never ask to see personal documents like passports, pay slips or birth certificates. Field officers will never ask for payment or your bank details. They will never ask for your national insurance number.

Field officers do not need to enter your home.

Can census field officers fine me on the doorstep?

Census field officers will never ask for a payment on the doorstep. The role of field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online, or on paper, and direct them to any support services they might need to complete it.  

You are required to complete the census by law. If you refuse, you can be interviewed under caution. This may be followed by a court summons, a fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal record.