RCMP warn COVID-related scams are on the rise

Virus scams spreading

RCMP are warning that scams are spreading faster than COVID-19.

British Columbians are being targeted by fraudsters wanting to profit from consumers' fears and desire to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is reporting scammers are setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.

Police said the emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighbourhood. They also may be asking to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, offering protective gear or detection kits, or fake home sanitizing services.

According to the RCMP statement, there are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19. The current forecast to have efficient vaccines available for general public is months away and will be communicated via legitimate government and health authorities.

One fraud example is private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale. Only hospitals can perform the test, no other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results.

Police said other frauds include urging people to invest in hot new stocks related to the virus; emails, texts or online campaigns that capitalize on the public's fears about Covid-19; creating fraudulent and deceptive online ads offering: cleaning products, hand sanitizers, other items in high demand.

Police are also warning about unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims or research.

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