Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre warns of COVID-19 related frauds – test kits, treatments and more

Fraudsters preying on fears, uncertainties and misinformation

As Covid-19 continues to spread around the world, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) warns we should be on the lookout for associated scams.

Examples of COVID-19 fraud

Consumers in other countries have shared these scenarios:

  • Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
    • Only hospitals can perform the tests
    • No other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results

  • Consumers are purchasing large amounts of products and reselling them at higher prices
    • These products may be:
      • expired
      • of lower quality
      • dangerous to your health

  • Fraudsters have been going door-to-door offering fake decontamination services

  • The Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration in the United States have warned of companies selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the disease
    • The United States has not approved any such products
    • Unapproved drugs threaten public health and violate federal laws

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

  • Fraudsters may urge you to invest in hot new stocks related to the disease
  • Fraudsters are sending phishing, spear-phishing and other malicious email campaigns that capitalize on the public’s fears about Covid-19
  • Fraudsters are creating fraudulent and deceptive online ads
    • These ads may offer:
      • cleaning products
      • hand sanitizers
      • other items in high demand

How to protect yourself

  • Contact your insurance provider to answer any health insurance questions
  • Beware of high-priced or low-quality products
  • Beware of unsolicited medical advisory emails with links or attachments
    • Fraudsters may spoof the information of government and health care organizations

  • Beware of:
    • miracle cures
    • herbal remedies
    • other questionable offers, such as vaccinations, faster tests, etc.

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.