SURREY, B.C. – British Columbians are being targeted by fraudsters who want to profit from consumers’ fears and desire to protect themselves from the COVID-19.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is reporting that scammers are setting up websites to sell bogus products and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.

The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighbourhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, offering protective gear or detection kits, or fake home sanitizing services.

There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19. The current forecast to have efficient vaccines available for general public is months away and will be communicated via legitimate government and health authorities.

Fraud – Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
Fact – Only hospitals can perform the test, no other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results

Fraud – Door-to-door solicitors offering fake decontamination services
Fact – Follow direction of the Provincial Health Authority to decontaminate your home and reduce your personal risk.

Fraud – Fraudsters posing as police have been imposing on-the-spot fines to consumers wearing masks claiming that wearing a mask in public goes against a full-face veil law
Fact – It isn’t illegal to wear a mask for health reasons

Fraud – Fraudsters urge you to invest in hot new stocks related to the virus
Fact – You should only ever purchase stocks through reputable sources and banking institutions.

Fraud – Fraudsters sending emails, texts or online campaigns that capitalize on the public’s fears about Covid-19
Fact – Do not respond to unsolicited email, texts or phone calls. Don’t click on any links or give any information about yourself. If you have any doubts about where the email came from, make sure to check the identity of the sender., if you receive a suspicious phone call, hang-up.

Fraud – Fraudsters are creating fraudulent and deceptive online ads offering: cleaning products, hand sanitizers, other items in high demand
Fact – Buy from companies or individuals you know by reputation or from past experience. Before   checking out, make sure you’re still on a reputable website and have not been redirected to a third-party page. Beware of sellers from far away or that have limited or no reviews. Use a credit card when shopping online; many offer protection and may give you a refund. Regularly check your credit card statements for frequent or unknown charges.