Covid-19 seems to be everywhere and so are fraud attempts and scams that are related to it. It isn’t new that fraudsters typically take advantage of times when people are confused to create more mayhem and cash-in from fear. Creative fraudsters do not care about what happens tomorrow, they only care about benefitting themselves and will exploit any avenue to do so, even the outbreak of Covid-19.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and local police departments have been performing COVID-19 fraud investigations and are warning people about the rise of fraudulent activity, particularly those that are related to Covid-19 which are spreading faster than the virus itself. The warning talks about fraudsters profiteering from consumer’s uncertainties, misinformation, and fears. Below is a list of Covid-19 related scams to watch out for.
Quick Covid-19 Tests
Note that testing for Covid-19 is only done by hospitals because they are the only ones authorized to do so. Beware of fake kits and swabbing procedures that are being sold for a premium.
Essential Products Hoarding and Selling
This activity has many faces. Some consumers have hoarded essential products to sell later at a much-inflated cost. Some people are taking advantage of consumers who are stocking up by knowingly selling fraudulent or expired products at a bargain. There are people selling products that they claim can ward off the virus or provide a miracle cure. Even U.S. Federal agencies have warned the public about this and government agencies are clarifying that no such product exists yet. And lastly, some scam artists create ads selling products that do not exist and they do not intend to send once payment has been made. It is best to be wary of products that are priced too high or too low or are promising results that are too good to be true.
Fake Anti-Covid-19 Filters and Cleaning Services
Believe it or not, some scheming heating and cleaning companies came up with fake services that offer Covid-19 filters and other similar claims just to drum up business.
Fake Calls About Hydro/Power Disconnection
Fraudulent individuals started making calls to people claiming their hydro or power could be disconnected if they do not pay them or agree to a special deal, claiming that the victim is behind with his/her bills.
Fraudulent CDC and WHO People
The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will never offer to sell access to a list of infected people nor offer tests for sale.
False Calls from Public Health Agency of Canada
Fraudsters are pretending to be from Public Health Agency of Canada and calling people to tell them that they’ve tested positive for Covid-19; and that to get access to a prescription and treatment, they will have to comply with providing their credit card and health card numbers.
Phishing Emails from Fake Government Agencies
Some scam artists are sending phishing emails that look like they are from government agencies. The emails are asking for personal details such as financial details and other sensitive data.
This list just contains some of the most common scams that are related to Covid-19. Know that anything that could be too good to be true and cannot be verified through reliable sources are likely to be scams or misinformation. If you’ve fallen victim to what you think may be a Covid-19 scam, be sure to report to the proper authorities.