Tuesday March 17, 2020 – COVID-19 Scam Alert

COVID-19 Scam Alert

The Peterborough Police Service is warning residents that COVID-19 related scams are beginning to circulate across Ontario.

While the Service has not officially received a complaint or report of this sort of activity occurring in Peterborough, Lakefield or Cavan Monaghan to date, it is aware of content and conversations being shared on social media regarding these types of fraudsters already in our communities. In order to be pro-active the Service is alerting residents and providing important crime prevention messaging.

“It’s certainly sad and disconcerting that there are people looking to take advantage and prey on the vulnerable during stressful and uncertain times,” says Detective Constable Alison Dyer, Peterborough Police Fraud Unit.

“Whether speaking to someone over the phone, online or at your doorstep we remind residents to always stop, pause and think before providing any personal or banking information or agreeing to one of these fraudulent services.”

Detective Constable Dyer adds that when in doubt, residents should call a trusted family member or friend, their bank, insurance provider, police or the Peterborough Public Health Unit to verify the person’s identity and the service or product they are claiming to provide related to COVID-19.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website, COVID-19 scams currently circulating include the following:

  • Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
  • Consumers are purchasing large amounts of products and reselling them at higher prices
  • Fraudsters have been going door-to-door offering fake decontamination services
  • Fraudsters posing as police have been imposing on-the-spot fines to consumers wearing masks
  • 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

How to protect yourself:

  • Beware of false or misleading information
  • Only visit reputable sites for information including the Peterborough Public Health Unit https://www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/, the Public Health Agency of Canada Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and Health Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada.html
  • 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.

Beware of unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims or research

If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Peterborough Police Service at 705-876-1122 or online at https://www.peterboroughpolice.com/report/a-crime/ or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/report-signalez-eng.htm

For more information please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud website at https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm