The Nanaimo RCMP are advising members of the public about an increase in COVID-19 scams circulating on digital platforms.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, there is a dramatic increase in reports of unsuspecting individuals being tricked into providing personal or banking information to fraudsters.
“Fraudsters want to profit from consumers’ fears, uncertainties and misinformation,” reads a statement from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
As a result of the recent increase in scam reports, Nanaimo RCMP is issuing an advisory for the public to be on alert for possible scammers on social media, e-mail and even over text messages.
Some of the most recent COVID-19 scams reported include:
- Companies offering fake COVID-19 tests and selling unproven drugs to treat symptoms.
- Scammers impersonating the Public Health Agency of Canada to glean personal information and credit card numbers.
- Cleaning companies claiming their duct cleaning can protect people from COVID-19.
The Nanaimo RCMP have been received a number of calls daily from individuals, contacted by fraudsters who offer any one of the above scams. Very few of the callers to our detachment indicated that they were duped into providing compromising information, and were advised to call or report the interaction to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
This isn’t the first time that Nanaimo RCMP have warned the public of COVID-19 scams during the current pandemic.
Towards the end of March, police said they had heard of scams that involved door-to-door soliciting of fake services, impersonating police officers to issue fines, and fraudulent online advertising of unauthorized COVID-19 related products.
Nanaimo authorities also said they had seen fraudsters sending texts scams back in late March as well.
For further information on COVID-19 scams and others, Nanaimo RCMP are encouraging the public to visit the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre’s website.