COVID-19 Scams to Watch Out For
Written by Kelley Keehn
Thursday, April 16th, 2020
As you and your family work hard to self-isolate and protect yourselves from the COVID-19 pandemic, there's something else to be on the lookout for: scammers.
Fraudsters are using our emotions to try to take advantage of us, just when we're potentially at our weakest.
By knowing they're out there and the red flags to look out for, you and your loved ones can keep yourselves safe from these fraudsters.
COVID-19 Scam 1: Fake Websites
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the RCMP are working hard to shut down fake websites. These cyber spies are scouring websites that are pretending to be Health Canada, Canada Revenue Agency and more.
As we're encouraged to stay home and physically distance ourselves from others, we are simultaneously being encouraged to stay social by all authorities. And that's a great thing! However, it means that scammers are taking to social media to spread their bogus offers and claims. They're offering false glimmers of hope like phony COVID-19 testing kits or ultraviolet disinfectant lamps that kill the virus. Neither are true.
When in doubt, go to official websites you trust. Never click a link in an email, text or on social media.
COVID-19 Scam 2: Phishing Attacks
Now that government dollars are starting to flow in with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, there are still updates being announced and people have questions about federal and provincial benefits.
Fraudsters are trying to catch victims by offering enticements to "get your money quicker" or to qualify for other types of assistance. Don't click on these offers by text or email, or any attachments for payments or requests for information.
COVID-19 Scam 3: Phone Calls
Be on the lookout for calls for bogus donation requests to fake charities. Scammers will also call warning you that you've tested positive for COVID-19 and need to provide your credit card for payment of the prescription or cure. Don't give your credit card information to them.
COVID-19 Scam 4: Work from Home Scams
With over one million Canadians losing their jobs in the month of March, you can be sure you'll start seeing counterfeit "work from home" scams that offer easy income and all you have to do is pay an upfront fee. Don't buy into these.
COVID-19 Scam 5: Investment Fraud
As many investors see their portfolios go through the roller coaster of massive ups and downs, scammers may offer their "safe" and "low-risk" alternatives, taking advantage of your stock market fears. These were hallmarks of the 2008/2009 financial crisis. These investment cons can take the form of real estate or gold deals, fake certificates of deposit and so much more.
If you have concerns, you may want to check with your provincial securities commissions to spot the red flags. The OSC and the ASC both have fantastic resources, as does FP Canada to find the tools to interview a financial planner.
Make sure you're asking the right questions, checking to see if the seller is registered and never use their third-party referrals (like their lawyer, accountant, mortgage broker or planner) since they could be in on the swindle. Get your own independent second opinion.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself from Fraud
- Hang up the phone if you suspect it's a fraudster, or don't answer at all. If the call is legit, they'll leave a message
- Don't click any links or attachments in unknown emails or text messages
- Read emails very carefully. When in doubt, go directly to the company's official website yourself. Don't click any links in the email itself
- Don't trust everything you read or see advertised on social media
- Be wary of any links or attachments sent to you through social media messaging, even if they seem like they're coming from a friend
- Check bank and credit card statements for fraud and report anything suspicious to your bank immediately (and under 30 days)
- Put a free alert on your debit and credit card. That way you'll get a notice by text or email every time your card is used
- Check your credit reports for free online
If you suspect fraud, please report it to your bank immediately, to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and to your local police if you've been a victim.
This article or video (the “Content”), as applicable, is provided by independent third parties that are not affiliated with Tangerine Bank or any of its affiliates. Tangerine Bank and its affiliates neither endorse or approve nor are liable for any third party Content, or investment or financial loss arising from any use of such Content....
The Content is provided for general information and educational purposes only, is not intended to be relied upon as, or provide, personal financial, tax or investment advice and does not take into account the specific objectives, personal, financial, legal or tax situation, or particular circumstances and needs of any specific person. No information contained in the Content constitutes, or should be construed as, a recommendation, offer or solicitation by Tangerine to buy, hold or sell any security, financial product or instrument discussed therein or to follow any particular investment or financial strategy. In making your financial and investment decisions, you will consult with and rely upon your own advisors and will seek your own professional advice regarding the appropriateness of implementing strategies before taking action. Any information, data, opinions, views, advice, recommendations or other content provided by any third party are solely those of such third party and not of Tangerine Bank or its affiliates, and Tangerine Bank and its affiliates accept no liability in respect thereof and do not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of any information in the third party Content. Any information contained in the Content, including information related to interest rates, market conditions, tax rules, and other investment factors, is subject to change without notice, and neither Tangerine Bank nor its affiliates are responsible for updating this information.
Tangerine Investment Funds are managed by Tangerine Investment Management Inc. and are only available by opening an Investment Fund Account with Tangerine Investment Funds Limited. These firms are wholly owned subsidiaries of Tangerine Bank. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.