Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 Scams

April 2, 2020

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Unfortunately there are fraudsters attempting to take advantage of Canadians during this sensitive and stressful time. It is extremely important to be informed about COVID-19 scams and understand how to recognize red flags.

Fraudulent Emails: Relief Fund Access, Donations, Public Health Information

Fraudsters are taking advantage of widespread anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic by sending fraudulent emails attempting to trick recipients into revealing personal information or clicking on malicious links or attachments. The emails may look legitimate and may include logos or branding of the Canadian Government, World Health Organization, or public health agencies.

If you receive a suspicious email, review the sender’s email address and watch for red flags such as expressed urgency, typos, and requests for personal information. When in doubt, try to contact the sender by phone.

Fraudulent Emails: Quarantined Friends or Family

There are also reports of fraudsters sending emails requesting money by impersonating themselves as quarantined friends or family members. We recommend contacting your friend or family member through another channel (such as phone or text) to validate their request and please use caution when sending funds as you would any other time.

Fraudulent Calls, Texts, Social Media Messages

Emails are not the only method of contact fraudsters are using. They are calling and texting Canadians with requests for donations or seemingly providing quick access to relief funds from the Government of Canada. If you did not initiate a communication with a non-profit organization or the Government of Canada, do not provide personal information or click on links in texts.

Fraudsters are also using private messages on social media platforms to request donations and provide access to relief funds. You may see fraudulent advertising as well. 

Next Steps

What do I do if I receive a fraudulent email, phone call or text?

Delete the message and do not click on any links or attachments. Do not provide any personal information

What do I do if I have fallen victim to fraudulent activity?

Contact Libro immediately to report that believe you are a victim of fraud. We also recommend reporting the fraudulent activity to your local police. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre continues to accept reports through their online Fraud Reporting System and will do their best to respond.

These are unprecedented times and it is an unfortunate reality we have to be mindful of these scams. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your Libro Coach.

By Kelly Hackney

Kelly Hackney is the Operational Risk Manager at Libro Credit Union in London, Ontario.