31.01.12: The Devon and Cornwall Police have circulated a Census scam warning from the Director of the 2011 Census, Glen Watson, which states:
We are aware that an email entitled ‘Population Census: a message to everyone – act now’ is being circulated, allegedly in the name of National Statistician, Jil Matheson. This email demands individuals provide further personal information, supposedly for the Census and threatens fines for non-compliance.
This email is a scam and a hoax. It has no connection whatsoever with the National Statistician, the 2011 Census or the Office for National Statistics.
We believe the links in the email could download malware to any computer where the user clicks on the links. This could put your personal data, including financial information, at risk.
Anyone receiving this, or similar emails, should delete them, not open any links and certainly not provide any information.
For more information on how to protect yourself from this type of threat, please see www.getsafeonline.org
If you wish to, please report receipt of any such suspicious emails to www.actionfraud.org.uk
ONS takes the protection of personal census information extremely seriously. Collection of census data was completed last year and no further requests will be forthcoming from the Office for National Statistics relating to the 2011 Census.
N.b.: It is worth noting that although this warning is real, 99% of scam and virus warnings are fake. If you want to be sure of whether a scam or virus warning is true before passing it on and perpetuating its circulation, you can enter some of the details of the email, or its subject line, into the search engine of the following website and it will confirm its authenticity for you: www.snopes.com