As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues, the CAFC wants to remind Canadians to remain vigilant and be on the lookout for ongoing frauds. Fraudsters are creative and want to profit from consumers' fears, uncertainties and misinformation.
There have been a number of scammers taking advantage of people’s worries about COVID-19. Protect yourself by being sceptical, relying only on trusted resources, and learning about common scams. See the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre’s (CAFC) COVID-19 page for a list of reported scams.
The CAFC has reported a number of scams including:
- Fake government information
- Unsolicited calls, emails or text requesting information or money
- Fake charities asking for donations
- People pretending to be someone’s grandchild and asking for money
Remember that if you did not initiate the contact, you cannot really know who you are talking to. Be very skeptical about people asking for your social insurance number, address, health card, or credit card information. If they claim to be from a government institution or charity, contact that institution directly (using the contact number listed on their website, not the information provided by the person who called you) and ask whether the request is legitimate.
Know that currently there is no cure for COVID-19 and companies or individuals offering miracle cures, tests, or vaccines are likely not legitimate and you should be extremely sceptical.
Also, be aware of CERB scams! If you get a text message saying you received a deposit for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, beware it is a scam! Do not reply or click on the link, delete the text and warn others. Government agencies like the CRA will not contact individuals via text message or any instant messaging service. Additionally, hundreds of Canadians have reported CERB identity fraud. Fraudsters with access to personal information including social security numbers and birthdates can register with your information and receive government benefits on your behalf. If your social insurance number (SIN) has been stolen or suspect it might be, you should contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218. Contact the CRA if you believe your account may be compromised.
If you think you have been contacted by a scammer or have been the victim of a scam you should report the incident to your local police and to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre