Fraudsters are working hard to extort money and personal information from “fearful and confident victims”, warn the OPP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center.
And they urge people to protect themselves to avoid being defrauded.
“As COVID-19 continues to spread in Ontario and Canada, fraudsters take advantage of citizens’ fear during times of uncertainty,” said the OPP in a statement released on Wednesday. “Fraudsters are exploiting this pandemic to facilitate fraud by cybercrime and any other means of obtaining your information. “
Police said these criminals generally use “time-sensitive circumstances” to make victims feel they have to act urgently and give up their personal and financial information.
“Many reports have a medically related theme to instantly create additional anxiety in obtaining information,” said the police. “From the usurped government, health care or research companies to unsolicited calls, emails and text messages giving medical advice or requesting urgent personal information, scammers are looking for information about you during these times.”
According to the CAFC, some of the most popular scams are:
– Cleaning or heating companies offering duct cleaning services or air filters to protect themselves from COVID-19
– Local and provincial hydropower companies threatening to cut power for non-payment
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or World Health Organization offering false lists for sale of people infected with COVID-19 in your neighborhood
– Public Health Agency of Canada giving false results, claiming that you tested positive for COVID-19 with and to prompt you to confirm your health card and credit card numbers for a prescription
– Red Cross and other known charities offering free medical products, such as masks, for a donation
– Government departments send coronavirus-themed phishing emails urging you to open malicious attachments or reveal sensitive personal and financial information
– Financial advisers pressuring people to invest in new hot disease-related stocks by offering financial assistance and / or loans to help you overcome closings
– Private companies offering rapid COVID-19 tests for the sale or sale of fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent disease
“If you were using your computer during a scam, it is possible that a virus or malware has been installed on your computer,” warns the OPP. “Run a full system check using reliable security software. If you don’t have security software such as antivirus and a firewall installed on your computer, a trusted IT professional can help you choose what you need. “
Fraudsters may also have accessed your passwords online, so police suggest using a secure computer to change your passwords immediately.
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