The Canada Anti-Fraud Centre warns of the potential for COVID-19 related scams. (Pixabay photo)

Island police warn of coronavirus-related fraud attempts

Police say to look out for associated scams playing on fear and misinformation

They haven’t received any reports yet, but the Victoria Police Department is warning the public of fraud related to coronavirus or COVID-19.

A bulletin prepared by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) says a number of COVID-19 related scams have started popping up in other countries and may spread to our communities.

“Fraudsters are creative and want to profit from consumers’ fears, uncertainties and misinformation,” the notice reads.

READ ALSO: Here’s what’s cancelled in Greater Victoria due to the coronavirus pandemic

Examples of scams include private companies offering quick COVID-19 tests. CAFC says only hospitals are authorized to perform tests for the virus.

Consumers are also purchasing large amounts of products and reselling them for a profit. CAFC warns that the products could be expired and of low quality, potentially increasing health risks. Additionally, the CAFC says fraudsters are creating deceptive online ads for products they don’t actually have for things like hand sanitizer and cleaning products.

Some fraudsters are urging people to invest in “hot new stocks related to the disease” and others are going door to door selling false decontamination services.

U.S. federal agencies have also warned of companies selling fraudulent products claiming to treat or prevent coronavirus. The CAFC says no such products have been approved and any unapproved drugs threaten public health.

To protect yourself from fraud, the CAFC warns the public to look out for high-priced or low quality products. They also say to look out for unsolicited medical advisory emails with links or attachments, as fraudsters might spoof information from government and health care organizations.

For more information or to report a suspected fraud, visit antifraudcentre.ca.

READ MORE COVID-19 COVERAGE HERE



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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