With the worldwide concern about COVID-19 there are people out there who will take advantage of others through fraud and deception.   Charities and non-profits in communities across Canada are often in the forefront of dealing with the problems created by COVID-19 – they deserve your support but just be careful out there.

COVID-19 fraud

March 18, 2020: As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, watch out for associated scams. Fraudsters want to profit from consumers’ fears, uncertainties and misinformation. Fraudsters are exploiting the crisis to facilitate fraud and cybercrime.

Protect yourself, beware of:

  • Spoofed government, healthcare or research information
  • Unsolicited calls, emails and texts giving medical advice or requesting urgent action or payment
    • If you didn’t initiate contact, 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
  • Unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims, products or research
  • High-priced or low-quality products purchased in bulk by consumers and resold for profit
    • These items may be expired and/or dangerous to your health
  • Questionable offers, such as:
    • miracle cures
    • herbal remedies
    • vaccinations
    • faster testing
  • Fake and deceptive online ads, including:
    • cleaning products
    • hand sanitizers
    • other items in high demand

Reported scams

Fraudsters are posing as:

  • Cleaning or heating companies
    • offering duct cleaning services or air filters to protect from COVID-19
  • Local and provincial hydro/electrical power companies
    • threatening to disconnect your power for non-payment
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization
    • 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
    • tricking you into confirming your health card and credit card numbers for a prescription
  • Red Cross and other known charities
    • offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation
  • Government departments
    • sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails
    • tricking you into opening malicious attachments
    • tricking you to reveal sensitive personal and financial details
  • Financial advisors
    • pressuring people to invest in hot new stocks related to the disease
    • offering financial aid and/or loans to help you get through the shut downs
  • Door-to-door sales people
    • selling household decontamination services
  • Private companies
    • offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
      • Only health care providers can perform the tests
      • No other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results
    • selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the disease
      • Unapproved drugs threaten public health and violate federal laws

Trusted resources and advice

  • Reference the latest health information from these legitimate sources:
  • Contact your insurance provider to answer any health insurance questions
  • Make sure you have anti-virus software installed and keep your operating system up to date