The Peterborough Police Service is warning residents that scams related to COVID-19 are beginning to circulate across Ontario.
Although the service has not officially received a complaint or report of the activity in its jurisdiction (City of Peterborough, Lakefield and Cavan Monaghan Township), it is aware of content and conversations being shared on social media regarding these types of fraudsters in the communities.
In order to be pro-active, the service is alerting residents and providing important crime prevention messaging.
“It’s certainly sad and disconcerting that there are people looking to take advantage and prey on the vulnerable during stressful and uncertain times,” said Det. Const. Alison Dyer of the service’s fraud unit.
“Whether speaking to someone over the phone, online or at your doorstep we remind residents to always stop, pause and think before providing any personal or banking information or agreeing to one of these fraudulent services.”
Dyer adds that when in doubt, residents should call a trusted family member or friend, their bank, insurance provider, police or the Peterborough Public Health Unit to verify the person’s identity and the service or product they are claiming to provide related to COVID-19.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website, COVID-19 scams currently circulating include the following:
- Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
- Consumers purchasing large amounts of products and reselling them at higher prices
- Door-to-door fraudsters offering fake decontamination services
- Fraudsters posing as police to issue fines to consumers wearing masks
- Fraudsters urging people to invest in new stocks related to the disease
- Phishing, spear-phishing and other malicious email campaigns
- Fraudulent and deceptive online ads
Police advise to only visit reputable sites for information including the Peterborough Public Health Unit, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada.
They also advise:
Contact your insurance provider to answer any health insurance questions
- Beware of high-priced or low-quality products
- Beware of unsolicited medical advisory emails with links or attachments
- Fraudsters may spoof the information of government and health care organizations
- Beware of miracle cures, herbal remedies and other questionable offers, such as vaccinations, faster tests, etc.
- Beware of unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims or research
- Verify that a charity is registered by visiting online.
To report fraud, contact the Peterborough Police Service at 705-876-1122 or online or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online.
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