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What's a COVID-19 scam?
In a COVID-19 scam, fraudsters take advantage of the pandemic to try to get money and personal information. They use a variety of techniques to lure you, such as pose as government or health personnel. Often, they use fear and a sense of urgency to try to get what they want.
Different types of COVID-19 scams
Fraudsters use phishing to trick you into sharing your information or selecting a link that infects your device with malware. With COVID-19 phishing scams, fraudsters pretend to be from healthcare organizations and try to communicate with you via email or text.
Fraudsters use fake web pages or apps to ask you for your information and payment to use ArriveCAN Opens in a new window.. This is a free Government of Canada platform you can use to submit your travel details when you enter Canada. So be wary of suspicious web pages or apps.
Fraudsters pose as authorized sellers and medical personnel to try to get you to buy vaccines online. They may claim you've tested positive for COVID-19 or trick you into confirming your health card and credit card numbers for prescriptions. Get safe vaccinations through a clinic that's endorsed by your local government and public health agency.
Fraudsters pose as government representatives to try to get your information and money. They reach out by email or text to ask you to apply or confirm a payment for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) won't contact you, as these benefits are closed and you can't apply for them any longer.
Fraudsters act as government representatives claiming that you need to pay back the CERB or CESB. They'll send out fraudulent emails, text or call and use a sense of urgency to get your money.
Warning signs of COVID-19 scams
- Unsolicited calls offering home vaccination kits for an upfront fee
- An individual or company offers to help you complete applications, such as CERB
- Unsolicited calls, emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment for essential services
- Charities request money from you to support COVID-19 patients, buy products or fund research
- Offers for quick and easy testing, vaccinations or vaccine passports
Stay safe with our tips
- Be wary if you receive any communication with a sense of urgency, especially from the CRA. If you're unsure and want to confirm, call the CRA directly.
- Don't download any COVID-19 related apps or software through a website or email link.
- Don't respond to unsolicited calls, emails or texts. Always keep your personal information confidential.
- Stay cyber safe. This includes using strong passwords, multi-factor authentication and up-to-date software to protect yourself.
- Don't select suspicious links or download files from unexpected emails. Be wary of the sender, even if the sender seems to be from a business, government agency or a person you know. Fraudsters may pose as a trusted person to introduce malware to your device.
- Talk to your doctor or consult your local health department for legitimate medical advice. Act diligently, as fraudsters may try to offer you fake products claiming to treat and prevent COVID-19.
Learn more about COVID-19 scams
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Opens in a new window.
Report fraud when it happens and track the latest data on fraud in Canada.
The Little Black Book of Scams Opens in a new window.
Download the Canadian Competition Bureau's guide to scams in 8 different languages.
Canadian Bankers Association Opens in a new window.
Read about the latest news and trends in fraud awareness and prevention.