Toronto emergency personnel warn residents not to fall for coronavirus scams
Scammers in Ontario and across Canada are preying on the panic and chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and emergency personnel are warning residents not to fall for it.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg tweeted about the issue yesterday in an effort to inform the public.
"We have reports of scammers going door to door (and now apparently online) in Toronto selling 'COVID-19 test kits,'" he wrote. "This is a total scam."
We have reports of scammers going door to door (and now apparently online) in Toronto selling “COVID-19 test kits”. This is a total scam. For accurate info, go to https://t.co/TrjscAlgBM @cityoftoronto @TOPublicHealth @epdevilla @bradrossTO— Matthew Pegg (@ChiefPeggTFS) March 17, 2020
Pegg also linked to the City's dedicated COVID-19 webpage and emphasized the need for accurate information.
Halton Police tweeted a similar message about another coronavirus-related scam this morning, this one claiming to be selling or giving away face masks.
"In the midst of the challenges presented by COVID-19, please do not fall prey to this scam," they wrote. "If you receive a text message claiming to be from the Red Cross selling or giving away masks, do NOT click the link (we didn't). It is not a legitimate offer."
In the midst of the challenges presented by COVID-19, please do not fall prey to this scam. If you receive a text message claiming to be from the Red Cross selling or giving away masks, do NOT click the link (we didn't). It is not a legitimate offer. ^jh pic.twitter.com/CqSrMBRSjQ— Halton Police (@HaltonPolice) March 18, 2020
Unfortunately, Ontario isn't the only province where scammers are attempting to prey on people at their most vulnerable.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre posted a notice to their website warning residents to "be on the lookout for associated scams" because "fraudsters want to profit from consumers' fears, uncertainties and misinformation."
Their notice includes examples of several different COVID-19-related scams, including private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale, consumers purchasing large amounts of products and reselling them at higher prices, fraudsters going door-to-door offering fake decontamination services and fraudsters posing as police who's been imposing on-the-spot fines to consumers wearing masks.
The CAFC is also warning of scammers urging residents to invest in "hot new stocks related to the disease" and fraudsters who are creating fraudulent and deceptive online ads.
So how can you protect yourself?
They also recommend contacting your insurance provider to answer any health insurance questions, and being extra aware of high-priced or low-quality products, unsolicited medical advisory emails with links or attachments, so-called "miracle cures," as well as unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims or research.
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