Residents across the borough are warned to be on their guard for bogus callers claiming to be following up on this year’s Census.
Every household is required by law to complete the once in a decade survey run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and even though Census Day, March 21, has passed, the questionnaire should still be returned.
Reminder letters have been written to households which have not yet completed the form with ONS officers visiting addresses to advise on the support available to help them.
However, the ONS census engagement manager for Dudley has received information bogus callers claiming to be from the census could be operating in the borough and has passed this on to the council’s trading standards scams unit. Residents are now being urged to take extra care with anyone calling at their door claiming to be from the ONS. Karen Wright, director of Public Health and wellbeing said:
"Fraudsters will look for any opportunity to try to scam residents and so we are urging everyone to be on their guard and report anyone they believe to be behaving suspiciously to our bogus caller helpline.
"All ONS officers carry ID. Households will never be asked for personal documents, such as passports, pay slips, birth certificates or national insurance numbers or for any payment or bank details as part of the visit."
Whilst £1,000 fines can be issued to those who refuse to complete the census, these will never be issued at the door or over the phone, but following an interview under caution.
Anyone who suspects a bogus caller is operating in their area should call 999 in an emergency or contact the dedicated bogus caller hotline on 01384 812045.
If anyone is concerned that they or someone they know may have fallen victim to scams, they should contact the scams unit on 01384 818871 or via email.