COVID-19: New scams emerge
While there are many good news stories about people rising to the occasion to assist others in these stressful times, there are others who see it as an opportunity to exploit the crisis.
Now, more than ever, it’s important that we remain vigilant to spot scammers who view the global pandemic crisis as an opportunity for new and creative ways to steal your money and your identity.
Keep in mind the general principles of staying safe online:
- Don’t respond if you didn't initiate contact or you don't know who you're communicating to
- Never respond or click on suspicious links and attachments
- Never give out your personal or financial details
- Don't be pressured into making a donation
- View all solicitations with skepticism. If it looks suspicious, it’s likely a scam.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre monitors the latest scams to keep you informed and aware. Here are a few highlights of scams related to the COVID-19 crisis to beware of:
- Spoofed government, healthcare or research information
- Unsolicited calls, emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment
- Any unsolicited contact offering medical advice, financial relief, or government assistance and compensation
- Unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims, products or COVID-19 research
- High-priced or low-quality products purchased in bulk by consumers and resold for profit
- Questionable health offers to stave off the virus, such as miracle cures, herbal remedies and fake vaccinations
Deceptive online ads for items in high demand such as face masks and hand sanitizers Beware of fraudsters posing as:
- Loan and financial service companies that you don’t deal with offering you loans and other financial assistance
- Cleaning or heating companies offering services or products to protect from COVID-19
- Hydro/electrical power companies threatening to disconnect your power for non-payment
- Health organizations offering fake lists for sale of COVID-19 infected people in your neighbourhood
- Public Health Agency of Canada giving false results saying you have been tested positive for COVID-19
- Pharmacies tricking you into confirming your health card and credit card numbers for a prescription
- Known charities offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation
- Government departments sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails
- Door-to-door sales people selling household decontamination services
- Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale or selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the disease
Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 scams.