Web users are being warned about scammers targeting email addresses with hoax messages from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Hertfordshire County Council is alerting people after ONS officials said the scam email, titled Population Census: A Message to Everyone - Act Now, contains links which could cause loss of personal information or data if opened.

The email is sent in the name of National Statistician, Jill Matheson and should be deleted immediately.

Richard Thake, cabinet member for environment and community safety said: “Hoax emails can be very damaging to an individuals’ personal information. We are very pleased that the ONS have highlighted this potential threat so we are able to warn residents of its existence.”

For information on how to protect your computer from scam emails visit: www.getsafeonline.org Or, to report receipt of a suspicious email go to: www.actionfraud.org.uk