Published: March 22, 2011
Police issue warning over bogus door-to-door census collectors

Police are warning residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area to beware of bogus callers posing as census collectors over the next few days.

The census is a count of the population in the UK that takes place every 10 years and this year it is happening on March 27th.

Every householder across the country is legally required to fill out a questionnaire on the same day to give a complete picture of the nation.

The job of census field staff is to speak to householders who have not filled in their forms, and they may call on people once all returned forms are processed.

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

PC Andy Williams, who works on the Avon and Somerset police 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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