NEIGHBOURS are being warned to be on the lookout for doorstep conmen posing as census workers.
Census staff will be knocking on doors across Sunderland and East Durham after Sunday as part of the country’s biggest historical record.
But they are urging householders to be careful not to let bogus callers con their way inside homes by pretending to be official staff.
Workers have teamed up with police and have been introducing themselves at police meetings and Neighbourhood Watch meetings to explain who they are and what they will be doing.
Celia Samater, area manager for Sunderland, said: “The general public feeling safe is of paramount importance to us.
“All census staff will be wearing a photographic ID badge and we have been working closely with the local police force in each area to make people aware of our presence.”
By law, all census forms have to be filled in either online or sent back by post.
Census collectors will be visiting households after this date to check why forms have not been sent back and to offer help and advice.
If questionnaires have been lost or damaged, they will also be able to replace any questionnaires.
If householders are not in when the collectors call, they will leave a calling card and come back another time.
Celia added: “You should only get a call from a census collector if we haven’t yet had a completed questionnaire from you either in the post or online or if you’ve requested a visit through the census helpline and a census co-ordinator has contacted you to arrange this.
“Census collectors will be out and about visiting households from late March through to May 6.”
Callers will always carry their photo ID, which contains the 2011 census logo.
If they do not automatically show you their ID, they will not mind being asked for it.
Residents are also being reminded collectors will never ask for bank, debit or credit card details.
Chief Inspector Bob Ryan, of Northumbria Police, said: “We would always remind people to check the identity of anyone who calls at their home, for whatever reason.
“If any households do not return the forms then Census Field Staff will make visits between March and mid August to collect the forms.
“All census staff will carry an ID card with a photo, logo and hologram and people should always check this identification.
“Census staff may ask for the householder’s name and the number of people who live there, but they will not ask for specific details such as credit card details, bank accounts etc. and we would always advise people not to disclose bank or building society details.”
Anyone with any doubts should phone the census helpline on 0300 0201 130.