Strathcona County, Alta. – Strathcona County RCMP are warning residents of scams using the COVID-19 outbreak as a cover. Scam associated with the global pandemic have been cropping up, feeding on people’s fear, uncertainty and misinformation during this difficult time.
One scam that has been circulating is a text message scam, where fraudsters claiming to be from the Red Cross offer free face masks. The text instructs you to click on a link that brings you to a spoof website that looks like the Red Cross, and subsequently asks you for a donation and/or delivery fee payment, in order to receive the mask.
Another scam includes a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Public Health Agency of Canada, saying you’ve tested positive, and then asks you to confirm your health number and other personal and financial information.
Be aware of fraudsters out there that are using the phone, internet, text messages and social networks to spread their scams in an attempt to get people to react and panic.
Think twice before clinking on a link. Confirm all information first and go to a trusted source to double check.
Additional tips for scam prevention:
· Beware of 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.
· Beware of fraudsters sending emails, texts or online campaigns that capitalize on the public’s fears about COVID-19. Do not respond to unsolicited email, texts or phone calls. Don’t click on any links or give any information about yourself.
· Beware fraudsters are creating fraudulent and deceptive online ads offering: cleaning products, hand sanitizers, other items in high demand. Buy from companies or individuals you know by reputation or from past experience.
If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the Strathcona County RCMP Detachment at 780-467-7741.
Constable Chantelle Kelly
Strathcona County RCMP