Parkland RCMP advise community of COVID-19 fraud schemes

March 25, 2020

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread globally, the Parkland RCMP want to make the community aware of a number of recently reported scams that aim to profit from individuals’ fears, uncertainties and misinformation.

Fraudsters are exploiting the crisis to facilitate fraud and cybercrime; they are relentless and will attempt to take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable. While we attempt to protect ourselves from the virus, we must remain vigilant and remember that if something seems too good to be true, it is likely a scam. 

Reported scams

An updated list of known COVID-19 related scams has been provided by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre  , and include fraudsters posing as:

  • Cleaning and 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.
  • Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, or the World Health Organization, offering fake lists for sale of COVID-19 infected people in your neighbourhood.
  • Public Health Agency of Canada giving false results saying you have been tested positive for COVID-19 and/or tricking people into confirming health card/credit card numbers for a prescription.
  • Red Cross (and other known charities) offering free medical products, like masks, for a donation.
  • Government departments sending out COVID-19 themed phishing emails, tricking you into opening malicious attachments and/or revealing sensitive personal and financial details.
  • Financial advisors pressuring people to invest in hot new stocks related to COVID-19 and/or offering financial aid/loads to help you get through the shut downs.
  • Door-to-door sales people selling household decontamination services.
  • Private companies selling fast COVID-19 tests and fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the virus.

Protect yourself

To protect yourself, it is important to be beware of:

  • Spoofed government, healthcare and research information.
  • Unsolicited calls, emails and texts giving medical advice or requesting urgent action or payment. If you didn’t initiate contact, you don’t know who you’re communicating with. Never respond or click on suspicious links/attachments and never give out your personal or financial details.
  • Unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims, products or research. Don’t be pressured into making a donation and verify that charities that you support are registered.
  • 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.
  • Question offers, such as miracle cures, herbal remedies, vaccinations and faster testing.
  • Fake and deceptive online ads or items like cleaning products, hand sanitizers and other items in high demand.

Additionally, residents are reminded:

  • Only health care providers can perform COVID-19 tests; no other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results.
  • Unapproved drugs threaten public health and violate federal laws.
  • Contact their insurance provider to answer any health insurance questions.
  • Ensure anti-virus software is installed on your devices and kept up-to-date.

Trusted resources and advice

Reference the latest health information from these legitimate sources: