The United Kingdom, like every other country, runs a census every ten years. The census asks residents a number of questions regarding the address of individuals, their age, name, nationality, employment, health, education, and language. (The census here is mandatory and participants are obliged to provide answers)
The census happens in the year that ends with number-1, except Scotland, the census is postponed until 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the respondents are filling their services online, they are getting a unique 16 digit access code from the government to each resident via snail-mail. The participant can go to the official government census website, enter the 16 digit login code, saving him the arduous work of filling the form by hand, and snail-mail it back. If the participant fails to fill the census form before 21-03-2021, the government will send a chain of warning notifications with a unique 16 digit code, requesting the participant to fill the form and also fining €1000 if he fails to do so.
Naked Security reports, “the criminals did make some grammatical mistakes in their forms that a native speaker of English might notice, and these would be another giveaway, along with the fake domain name, but the crooks have cloned the UK Office for National Statistics “look and feel” very believably.”
Stay alert of forged forms-
If the participant hasn’t filled the form yet but may soon do it, he/she should stay wary of fake “census reminders” that are sent by the hackers. And if you’ve already filled your form, be on alert if you think there have to be some modifications in the details. The hackers are trying to take advantage of the online census by luring the participants into phishing attacks and stealing their data.
The fake form may ask for your postcode instead of your 16 digits unique code (the hackers could’ve also sent a fake 16 digit code but they chose not to), after that, the hackers will ask you similar questions that you may answer while filling out the original forms. However, in the fake form case, you end up exposing your personal details to the hackers, instead of sending your details to Office for National Statistics.
How to stay safe?
1. Check the Domain name before filling the form on the official website.
2. Don’t open links that you may receive via SMS or e-mail.
3. Stay alert of the text messages that you may receive, please go through the message before filling the form.
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