Protect yourself from COVID-19 scams

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

Updated: October 27, 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, especially around CERB or CESB payments or repayments :

Many frauds try to mimic real federal government services to get access to your personal and financial information. Beware of fraudulent emails, texts, or calls about repaying the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. Check out this link to learn how to recognize CRA scams. 

Spot a phishing scam:

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

  • Don’t be fooled by a company or government 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
  • 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. Report fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can also learn more about Coastal Community’s response to COVID-19.

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