COVID-19 has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and stress. Unfortunately, fraudsters and scammers are exploiting the ongoing pandemic to facilitate fraud, scams, and cybercrime as they look to profit off people’s fears, uncertainties, and misinformation.
From March 6th to August 10th, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 3,210 reports of COVID-19 fraud. Of those, 2,144 were fraud victims with the average loss being $2,565.30 per victim.
It’s important to be on guard for potential scams and fraudulent activity such as unsolicited calls, emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment and/or offering medical advice, financial relief, or government assistance and compensation.
Fraudsters have been reported to be posing as financial institutions and government agencies. When receiving unsolicited and suspicious emails, texts, or phone calls that appear to be from financial institutions or government agencies, always exercise due diligence and caution.
A list of reported COVID-19 scams can be found at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/features-vedette/2020/covid-19-eng.htm.
Government agencies will never contact you via text message, demand immediate payment, threaten to arrest, or ask for financial information via email/link. If you are ever in doubt of the legitimacy of a phone call from an apparent government agency, it is always best to hang up and call the official number of that agency directly.
Financial institutions will never ask for personal information, login credentials or account information by email or text message. Never open links or attachments that come with them. If you are ever unsure of information you have received, contact your financial institution before taking any action or handing over any information.
If you didn’t initiate contact with a person, business, or financial institution, you don’t know who is at the other end of that email, text or phone call that you received, then it is likely a scam.
If you suspect that you might be a victim of fraud or a scam, information on what you can do can be found at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/scams-fraudes/victim-victime-eng.