PEOPLE have been warned to be on the lookout for scam text claiming they will be hit with a hefty fine for not completing the census.

The fraudulent text, which has been sent to people in Sussex, includes a bogus claim that the receiver has not completed the 2021 census and has been issued a fine.

It then asks you to click a link to update your information to avoid the fine and claim a refund.

But the text has not been sent by the government and authorities are urging people to be alert to scams before handing over their cash.

Arun District Council issued a warning against the scam and appealed on social media for people to be vigilant.

A spokesman said: “If you receive a text message claiming that you’ve been fined £200 for not completing your Census 2021 with a link to update your information and clam a refund don’t click on it – it’s a scam.

“Please share this message with those who may not use social media.”

While it is required by law that every household in the UK completes the census, Action Fraud is reminding people that fines for non-completion can only be issued by a court.

A spokesman for Action Fraud said: “For a fine to be imposed your case must go to court for non-completion of the census.

“You will never be issued with a fine by text message, phone call, email, or on social media. You will not be fined for a mistake on your census.

“The Office for National Statistics have a Cyber Intelligence Team who are taking down fake sites related to the Census.

“If you find a site that looks suspicious or receive text messages with links to sites asking for money related to the census, do not engage with them.

“Report them to the Census 2021 Contact Centre by ringing 0800 141 2021 in England and 0800 169 2021 in Wales.”