OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Canadians on Thursday about a text scam popping up on phones.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre issued an alert about fraudsters trying to profit from people’s fears, uncertainties and misinformation by posing as government departments and sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails, going after sensitive personal and financial details.
Trudeau said during his daily COVID-19 briefing that the best place to get reliable information on everything Ottawa is doing in response to the spread of COVID-19 is the federal government’s website.
The government will not send emails or text messages offering to deposit any COVID-19 benefits for Canadians.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, fraudsters are posing as:
- cleaning or heating companies offering duct cleaning services or air filters to protect from COVID-19;
- local and provincial hydro/electrical power companies threatening to disconnect your power for non-payment;
- centres for disease control and prevention or the World Health Organization, offering fake lists for sale of COVID-19 infected people in your neighbourhood;
- Public Health Agency of Canada giving false results saying you have been tested positive for COVID-19, tricking you into confirming your health card and credit card numbers for a prescription;
- Red Cross and other known charities offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation;
- government departments sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails, tricking you into opening malicious attachments tricking you to reveal sensitive personal and financial details;
- financial advisors pressuring people to invest in hot new stocks related to the disease, offering financial aid and/or loans to help you get through the shut downs;
- door-to-door sales people selling household decontamination services;
- private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale – only health care providers can perform the tests, and no other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results;
- selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the disease, such as unapproved drugs threaten public health and violate federal laws.