Census scam sees people in Norfolk threatened with £1,000 fines

A person completing their Census form online on Census Day. Picture date: Sunday March 21, 2021.

People in Norfolk have received scam text messages threatening them with £1,000 fines if they do not complete the Census 2021 - Credit: PA

People in Norfolk have been fraudulently threatened with fines if they do not complete the Census for 2021.

Several residents have reported receiving text messages in recent days, saying they will be fined £1,000 if they fail to participate in the survey. 

The scam messages come from a mobile number and are accompanied by a link.

People in Norfolk have received scam text messages threatening them with £1,000 fines if they do not complete the Census 2021

People in Norfolk have received scam text messages threatening them with £1,000 fines if they do not complete the Census 2021 - Credit: Archant

The full message reads: "Census: We haven't received your form for Census 2021. 

"You could be fined £1,000 if not completed." 

Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, said messages relating to the Censes are not distributed via text. 

A spokesman said: "We have received reports of scam text messages being sent relating to the Census 2021.

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"These scam texts threaten the recipient with a £1,000 fine for not completing the Census, or filling it in incorrectly.

“The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed you will never be contacted by text in relation to the Census. You will never be issued with a fine by text, phone call, email or on social media.

"If you receive a communication to this effect, please report it."

The Census is a survey that takes place every 10 years and provides a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales.

Answers to the Census questions are used to help the government and local councils make decisions on planning and funding public services. 

The deadline to complete the Census 2021 passed on Sunday, March 21, but households who failed to fill in forms are still being asked to complete it. 

Anyone who still fail to return a completed census will be committing a crime and will be contacted by non-compliance officers. 

Scam text messages can be forwarded to 7726 and scam emails to report@phishing.gov.uk.

If you think you might have been a victim of this scam, you can contact Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.