In addition to coping with the very real and serious threat to our health and wellbeing thanks to COVID-19, we’re now also facing the added stress of protecting ourselves against fraudulent schemes related to the pandemic.
Deceptive practices tend to transpire when people are most vulnerable – and let’s face it, right now, that’s all of us. The concept of playing on our fears and anxieties is nothing short of deplorable, but it’s becoming more prevalent. Fraudsters are appealing to our desire for information as well as a sense of ‘help is here’ that makes us feel good – something we’re all craving right now. It’s critical, therefore, to be vigilant and mindful when it comes to possible scams to avoid becoming a target.
Our ability to stay healthy is paramount and weighs heavily on our minds. We want to remain informed, yet we’re also inundated with daily updates surrounding the virus. The information we read and hear about can be overwhelming, so it’s extremely important that we educate ourselves to determine what’s real.
Here are a few examples of recent fraudulent activities:
- Door-to-door sales offering household decontamination services
- Calls from seemingly known charities appealing for donations
- Private companies claiming to sell authentic self-evaluation tests
- Offers to receive ‘free’ masks when you pay for shipping
- Email links to phony websites
- Seemingly valid government emails asking for personal and financial information for deposit of funds under the emergency response relief program
As we search for a sense of hope and security, these scams may be hard to detect. But if you’re ever in doubt, err on the side of caution. Don’t be intimidated by high-pressure tactics. Take the time you need to investigate the validity of what’s being offered/requested. Never give out personal or financial information to people you don’t know. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
If you think you’ve been a victim or wish to report a fraudulent incident, call the local police. Remain prudent, use common sense and make sure you receive reliable information from trusted websites such as the following:
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
- Economic Response Plan
- Health Canada
- World Health Organization
Have questions about your mortgage or cashflow options? Answers are a call or email away!