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Protect yourself from COVID-19 scams

Learn how you can ensure fraudsters don't take advantage of you

March 18, 2020 ​ 3 minute read

Even in difficult times, scammers never miss a chance to target vulnerable people. Fraudsters may try to take advantage of your concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak through scams and misinformation, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the World Health Organization. 

Now more than ever, you need to be on alert for fake emails, websites, texts and social media posts. Here’s a few tips to keep safe.

Recognize fraudsters posing as WHO representatives:

People have received fake emails supposedly from WHO asking for donations to develop a vaccine. Remember, WHO will never ask for direct donations to emergency response plans via email, separate websites, calls or texts. Be suspicious if you get an email asking you:

  • to log in to view safety information
  • to open unsolicited email attachments
  • to visit any link – type in the web address yourself instead 

Spot a phishing scam:

Here’s how you can avoid falling for phishing scams like the above:

  • Don’t be fooled by a company logo
  • Verify the email and website address
  • Check whether any charities requesting money are registered and call them directly to verify they are asking for donations
  • Don’t open any attachments, click on any links, use any resource provided in an unsolicited email or give out personal, financial, medical or confidential  information
  • Remember that reputable businesses or government agencies will never threaten, coerce or ask to be paid by wire transfer, e-transfer or gift card

Keep this mind:

Scammers don’t just use email. They may also use:

  • voice calls (including spoofed caller ID)
  • fax, postal mail and even in-person visits to your door using various “official-looking” badges

For voice calls, always pretend you are too busy to talk but will call back. Don’t use the number provided by the caller or caller-ID. Instead, find the number on the official website or contact list.

Avoid scam websites selling fraudulent products:

We’re all learning how to protect our health during this vulnerable time, so make sure to avoid: 

  • overblown claims about miracle health products or fraudulent sites selling facemasks
  • clicking on banners or social media products posts for products — try Amazon or go directly to the product manufacturer’s site
  • private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests – CAFC advises that only hospitals are allowed to perform the tests and only their tests are guaranteed to be accurate 

We want you to stay safe. If you want to learn what Coastal Community is doing in these unprecedented times, check out the link below.