Difficult times can bring out the best in people. Just look at our emergency workers who are on the front lines. Unfortunately, difficult times can also bring out the worse in people.
While most of us are pulling together and cooperating to get through the current Covid-19 environment, cyber-criminals and other scammers, are finding it a target-rich setting for their activities. Government agencies all over the world are aware of this and have put out information on new COVID-19 related scams to raise public awareness.
As a result of the dramatic increase in unemployment, and the government’s response in creating assistance packages, scammers are now working overtime to craft fake government websites and messages to target the unsuspecting and exploit their fears and take their money. There are also numerous other ways people are being targeted. Below is a list of some of the more widespread scams to watch for, as well as a list of resources to help you stay ahead of the scammers.
- Cleaning or heating companies offering duct cleaning services or air filters to protect from COVI-19
- Individuals claiming to be from the hydro/electrical power company threatening to disconnect your power for non-payment
- CDC or WHO representative offering to sell you fake lists of COVID-19 patients in your community
- Canada public health agency representative telling you that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and tricking you into giving your health card and credit card number for a prescription
- Claiming to be from well-known charities like the Red Cross offering free masks for a donation
- Phishing coronavirus-themed emails coming from fake government departments containing malicious attachments
- Financial advisors pressuring you to invest in stocks related to the disease, offering you financial aid, or loans to help cope with the shut-down
- Individuals going door-to-door selling household decontamination services
- Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests
These are just some of the many scams making the rounds right now, with new ones popping up constantly. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to never give out your personal information unless you can confirm the identity of the recipient. When in doubt don’t hesitate to verify. It is also a good idea to avoid visiting suspicious websites, and never open attachments if you are unsure of the source. Now, more than ever, don’t open your physical or virtual door to strangers.