COVID-19 Fraud Alert!

December 18, 2020: The CAFC has received reports on scams and frauds linked to COVID-10 vaccines.  Do not buy COVID-10 vaccines online or from unauthorized sources.  The only way to access safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is through clinics organized or endorsed by your local public health authority in collaboration with Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments. 

Refer to Government of Canada COVID-19 health, financial and security resources and if you have questions about getting vaccinated, contact your family physician or local health care providers.

Protect yourself, beware of:

  • Potential counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines New
    • Private companies selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the disease
    • Unapproved drugs threaten public health and violate federal laws
  • Coronavirus-themed emails and COVID-19 vaccination themed emails that are trying to: New
    • trick you into opening malicious attachments
    • trick you to reveal sensitive personal and financial details
  • Unsolicited calls claiming to be from a private company or health care providers offering home vaccination kits for an up-front fee New
  • Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale New
    • Only official health care providers can perform the tests
    • No other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results
  • Questionable third-party companies offer to help you fill out applications, such as CERB
  • Criminals using your identity to sign-up for CERB and receive payments
  • Spoofed government, healthcare or research information
  • Unsolicited calls, emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment and/or offering medical advice, financial relief, or government assistance and compensation
    • If you didn’t initiate contact, you don’t know who you’re communicating to
    • Never respond or click on suspicious links and attachments
    • Never give out your personal or financial details
  • Unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims, products or research
  • High-priced or low-quality products purchased in bulk by consumers and resold for profit
    • These items may be expired and/or dangerous to your health
  • Questionable offers, such as:
    • miracle cures
    • herbal remedies
    • vaccinations
    • faster testing
  • Fake and deceptive online ads, including:
    • cleaning products
    • hand sanitizers
    • other items in high demand

Reported scams

Fraudsters are posing as:

  • Phishing, spear phishing and malicious links sent from a familiar email address or text message New
    • An email containing links or content related to COVID-19 vaccines and once you click on them it freezes your computer, makes you call a toll-free number and then they demand money from you to unfreeze your account
  • Phone calls offering home vaccination kits New
    • A phone call from someone claiming to work for a pharmaceutical company and offering a “6 shot vaccine system” which you receive by mail after paying large sums of money
  • Loan and financial service companies
    • offering loans, debt consolidation and other financial assistance services
  • Cleaning or heating companies
    • offering duct cleaning services or air filters to protect from COVID-19
  • Local and provincial hydro/electrical power companies
    • threatening to disconnect your power for non-payment
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization
    • offering fake lists for sale of COVID-19 infected people in your neighbourhood
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
    • giving false results saying you have been tested positive for COVID-19
    • tricking you into confirming your health card and credit card numbers for a prescription
  • Red Cross and other known charities
    • offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation
  • Government departments
    • sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails
    • tricking you into opening malicious attachments
    • tricking you to reveal sensitive personal and financial details
  • Financial advisors
    • pressuring people to invest in hot new stocks related to the disease
    • offering financial aid and/or loans to help you get through the shut downs
  • Door-to-door sales people
    • selling household decontamination services
  • Private companies
    • offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
      • Only health care providers can perform the tests
      • No other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results
    • selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the disease
      • Unapproved drugs threaten public health and violate federal laws
    • Offering assistance with filling out CERB applications for a fee

Trusted resources and advice

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