Be Prepared For COVID-19 Scams

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is warning Canadians to be aware that some individuals and groups may be looking to take advantage of the fears around the COVID-19 Coronavirus to profit off of.

With that, here are a list of possible scams they have been alerted to and want us to be mindful of.

Examples of COVID-19 fraud that the CAFC says consumers in other countries have shared:

  • Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
    • Only hospitals can perform the tests
    • No other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results
  • Consumers are purchasing large amounts of products and reselling them at higher prices
    • These products may be:
      • expired
      • of lower quality
      • dangerous to your health
  • Fraudsters have been going door-to-door offering fake decontamination services
  • The Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration in the United States have warned of companies selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the disease
    • The United States has not approved any such products
    • The unapproved drugs threaten public health and violate federal laws
  • Fraudsters posing as police have been imposing on-the-spot fines to consumers wearing masks
    • They claim that wearing a mask in public goes against a full-face veil law
    • It isn’t illegal to wear a mask for health reasons
  • Fraudsters may urge you to invest in hot new stocks related to the disease
  • Fraudsters are sending phishing, spear phishing and other malicious email campaigns that capitalize on the public’s fears about Covid-19
  • Fraudsters are creating fraudulent and deceptive online ads
    • These ads may offer:
      • cleaning products
      • hand sanitizers
      • other items in high demand

You should also beware any texts that have links within them claiming to offer some service, product, or rebate related to Covid-19. These links could lead to malicious software being installed on your device.

How to protect yourself from these malicious scams:

  • Beware of false or misleading information, learn the latest and verify any information through a trusted source, such as;
  • Contact your insurance provider to answer any health insurance questions
  • Beware of high-priced or low-quality products
  • Beware of unsolicited medical advisory emails with links or attachments
    • Fraudsters may spoof the information of government and health care organizations
  • Beware of:
    • miracle cures
    • herbal remedies
    • other questionable offers, such as vaccinations, faster tests, etc.
  • Beware of unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims or research

If you question anything you have encountered be sure to verify it first, either through a trusted source such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization, or Ontario Health.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online.

You can find all of this information as well as any updates at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

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