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Financial Crime Trend Bulletin: COVID-19 Frauds – Updated

CAFC COVID-19

As COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues, the CAFC is warning the public to be on the lookout for associated scams. Fraudsters are creative and want to profit from consumers’ fears, uncertainties and misinformation.

Fraudsters are posing as:

  • Loan and financial service companies
    • offering loans, debt consolidation and other financial assistance services
  • Cleaning or heating companies
    • offering duct cleaning services or air filters to protect from COVID-19
  • Local and provincial hydro/electrical power companies
    • threatening to disconnect your power for non-payment
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
    • giving false results saying you have been tested positive for COVID-19
    • tricking you into confirming your health card and credit card numbers for a prescription
  • Red Cross and other known charities
    • offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation
  • Government departments
    • sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails
    • tricking you into opening malicious attachments
    • tricking you to reveal sensitive personal and financial details
  • Financial advisors
    • pressuring people to invest in hot new stocks related to the disease
  • Door-to-door sales people
    • selling household decontamination services
  • Private companies
    • offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
      • Only health care providers can perform the tests
      • No other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results
    • selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the disease
      • Unapproved drugs threaten public health and violate federal laws

Beware of:

  • Spoofed government, healthcare or research information
  • Unsolicited calls, emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment and/or offering medical advice, financial relief, or government assistance and compensation
    • If you didn't initiate contact, you don't know who you're communicating to
    • Never respond or click on suspicious links and attachments
    • Never give out your personal or financial details
  • Unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims, products or research
  • High-priced or low-quality products purchased in bulk by consumers and resold for profit
    • These items may be expired and/or dangerous to your health
  • Questionable offers, such as:
    • miracle cures
    • herbal remedies
    • vaccinations
    • faster testing
  • Fake and deceptive online ads, including:
    • cleaning products
    • hand sanitizers
    • other items in high demand

How to Protect Yourself

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at https://www.antifraudcentre.ca.

This document is the property of the CAFC. It is loaned to your agency/department in confidence and it is not to be reclassified, copied, reproduced, used or further disseminated, in whole or part, without the consent of the originator. It is not to be used in affidavits, court proceedings or subpoenas or for any other legal or judicial purposes. This caveat is an integral part of this document and must accompany any information extracted from it.