According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, since March 2020, over 8,500 Canadians have been duped by pandemic-related scams with an estimated cost of $7 million.
On-line fraudsters are using fakes government websites, emails and notification apps to attract visitors and the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security has taken down thousands of these sites. According to the centre, these websites are impersonating the federal government in order to “deliver fake COVID-19 exposure notification applications that can install malware on devices.” Malware encrypts a computer’s software program and steals personal information from the unsuspecting computer owner.
Other sites have also been created to entice purchases of fake covid test kits, facemasks and hand sanitizers. Once again, personal information can be stolen, and i n some cases, victims are being subjected to ransomware attacks, which are demands to pay a ransom amount in order to re-gain access to a computer.
There are many ways to protect yourself from on-line scams. For example:
If you have been a victim of fraud, you should contact your local police or file a report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 (toll-free), or do it online through the Fraud Reporting System.