RCMP warning of increased COVID-19 scams

by Morinville News Staff

The RCMP says there has been a spike in COVID-19 related scams in Canada since the beginning of the month. The most common report police are receiving is fraudulent merchandise sales and phishing emails.

Police say the fraudulent merchandise sales frequently involve the sale and/or giveaway of health-related products, including facemasks and COVID-19 tests. Other scams involve free products being advertised where the victim must pay a bogus shipping fee.

Phishing emails are impersonating agencies, including the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, and others.

Potential victims are contacted by email or SMS and provided a link prompting them to fill out personal and banking information. Police say the link contains suspected malware in some cases.

Individuals are also being advised of fake positive test results, donation campaigns, door-to-door decontamination services, and self-assessment surveys in other scams, police say.

Police offer the following tips:

· Never give out personal or financial details if you didn’t initiate the call.
· If you didn’t initiate the contact, you don’t know who you’re talking to.
· Don’t click on suspicious links or attachments.
· Install anti-virus software.
· Be skeptical of emails even if they look legitimate.
· Check the “from” address by hovering over the name.
· Check the Canadian Anti-Fraud website for a list of reported scams.

Anyone receiving texts or emails suspected of being fraudulent are asked to report them to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/report-signalez-eng.htm

Police ask victims of fraud to report it to their local police service and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at: www.antifraudcentre.ca as well as contacting their bank and credit card company.

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