Toronto Police and the RCMP are warning citizens across the country to be wary of scammers looking to capitalize on the panic and chaos ensuing from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
According to Toronto’s emergency services, fraudsters are reportedly going door-to-door, sending texts and emails, and making unsolicited phone calls in an effort to profit from consumers’ fears. Such individuals are representing fraudulent charities; requesting money for victims, products or research; and reselling products purchased in bulk for profit.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg recently alerted residents to a scam selling fake COVID-19 test kits across the city.
We have reports of scammers going door to door (and now apparently online) in Toronto selling “COVID-19 test kits”. This is a total scam. For accurate info, go to https://t.co/TrjscAlgBM @cityoftoronto @TOPublicHealth @epdevilla @bradrossTO
— Matthew Pegg (@ChiefPeggTFS) March 17, 2020
And there are other reports of text messages claiming to be from the Canadian Red Cross.
Important note: If you receive a text message claiming to be from the Red Cross selling or giving away masks, do NOT click the link. It is not a legitimate offer. #covid-19
— Canadian Red Cross (@redcrosscanada) March 14, 2020
Dan Ramos, crime prevention coordinator with the Toronto Police Service (TPS), is reminding people to share accurate information on the latest frauds with vulnerable family and friends.
With the #COVID19 situation changing rapidly, so are scams relating to the virus.
For accurate information on the latest frauds visit:https://t.co/2D8f15M4q6
— Dan Ramos (@BeardAndProtect) March 19, 2020
In a whirlwind of misinformation and uncertainty, the most vulnerable are easy prey to those looking to exploit the crisis for financial gain. Which is why the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is reminding people not to respond to emails from unknown senders or click on suspicious links and attachments, and to never give out personal information or financial details.
The RCMP, World Health Organization and Better Business Bureau have all posted similar warnings.
As #COVID19 (coronavirus) continues to spread globally, be on the lookout for associated scams. Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website to learn how to protect yourself: https://t.co/gFOE1p0UQJ pic.twitter.com/bW9fTXE1d2
— RCMP (@rcmpgrcpolice) March 13, 2020
Protect yourself and be on the lookout for questionable offers, including miracle cures, herbal remedies, vaccinations, faster testing, and fake and deceptive online ads.