Monday, 4 April 2011

Beware bogus census callers, say police

Police are warning people to beware of bogus callers posing as census collectors. If you haven't filled in your census form, you may get a call from the census field staff.

Although there have been no cases of this kind in Avon and Somerset, the advice follows a recent complaint to Trading Standards in Leicestershire another part of the country about a bogus caller, trying to enter someone's house by posing as a census official.

PC Andy Williams, who works on the forcewide team that tackles distraction burglary, said: "In our experience, fraudsters will take advantage of any situation to con people or to access homes to steal, and the opportunity presented by the census is no exception.

"We are urging people to only answer the questions in the census form.

"They should not disclose credit card or bank details and not pay any money to anyone claiming to be from the census.

"Remember if you are not sure, don't open the door."

A spokesperson for the Office for National Statistics, which is carrying out the census, said: "Residents who return their completed questionnaires promptly are unlikely to be contacted by the census field staff, and all census staff will produce an ID card with a photo and logo.

"They may ask for name and number of residents, but they will not ask for specific details, like credit card details and bank account numbers.

"If you're unsure about a caller, close the door and ring the census helpline on 0300 0201 101, to verify whether it is a genuine census call.

"If you do think you've had a bogus call, ring the Police. If you find that you are a victim of a bogus caller, ring Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506."

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