RCMP and Health Canada seize more than 1,500 unauthorized COVID-19 test kits

RCMP and Health Canada seize more than 1,500 unauthorized COVID-19 test kits
BC RCMP helped Health Canada seize more than 1,500 unauthorized COVID-19 test kits

With the help of the BC RCMP, Health Canada seized more than 1,500 unauthorized COVID-19 test kits from a Richmond resident, who was buying and selling them illegally.

The RCMP’s COVID-19 Fraud Response Team partnered up with Health Canada and acted on a tip from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre that these test kits were being sold online to unsuspecting British Columbians. No charges were laid by the BC RCMP as a result of the confiscation.

Only diagnostic tests authorized by Health Canada can be imported or sold in Canada. The organization says Authorized COVID-19 tests provide accurate and reliable results, whereas unauthorized tests may lead to potential misdiagnosis.

Selling or advertising health products that make false or misleading claims to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure COVID-19 is illegal in Canada. Health Canada says this is a very serious matter and is actively working to stop this activity.

Health Canada continues to monitor websites for false and misleading claims, working with online retailers to ensure that unauthorized products and products making invalid claims are removed from their websites.

“Canadians are reminded to be extra careful during the pandemic regarding online frauds and scams,” says Inspector Lav Mangat, Operations Officer for the BC RCMP Financial Integrity Program. “We work with many partners, such as Health Canada, to protect British Columbians. We are all in this together.”

Health Canada is urging anyone who has purchased any unauthorized health products to stop using them immediately and to talk to a health-care professional if they have used these products and have concerns.

Anyone with information on the potential sale or advertising of a health product claiming to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure COVID-19, to report it by using the online complaint form.

“Always assume any unsolicited contact is a potential scam,” said Inspector Mangat. “Consult the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre webpage for information on the types of scams out there, how to protect yourself and report them if you become a victim.”

The BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Financial Integrity Program created the COVID-19 Fraud Response Team to deal with various scams that are emerging during the pandemic.

There are many different kinds of new scams in B.C. since the start of the coronavirus crisis. BC Hydro is warning customers of a 350 per cent increase of scams during COVID-19.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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