In April 2020, the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre and the Better Business Bureau received 12,900 reports of fraud nationwide – an increase of 9,000 reports from the same month a year prior. (Pixabay)

Fraud reports spiked by nearly 45% in April as scammers take advantage of pandemic

COVID-19 an opportunity for scammers to put new spin on old tricks, police warn

Fraudsters are continuing to put a new spin on their old tricks as British Columbians adapt to the various changes to daily life brought on by COVID-19.

In April, the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre and the Better Business Bureau received 12,900 reports of fraud nationwide – an increase of 9,000 reports from the same month a year prior.

In recent months, one of more notable Canada Emergency Response Benefit cheque scams caught the attention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who warned Canadians during a live news conference that government agencies will never contact citizens through social media websites or text messages.

That scam involves the fraudster sending a text message to victims indicating that the recipient has received a deposit for CERB from the government, directing them to to click an attached link.

Other common scams include what police call the “utility services or phone/internet company scam,” which falsely notifies the victim that they have received a refund and can access the funds by clicking a link.

Fraudsters have also been bilking people by deliberately disguising their phone number to appear on caller ID in order to hide their identity, and trick victims into thinking they are part of a legit company.

The RCMP are reminding people to take precautions and do the following to prevent becoming the victim of a scam:

  • Hand up the phone right away if you get a suspicious call. Do not follow the prompts.
  • Do not respond to the calls or text messages to unknown or suspicious phone numbers. Research the company contact information independently and call the company to confirm.
  • Do not click on attached links. They may lead you to fake websites.
  • Do not give out your personal or financial information through the phone or text messages.
  • Do not respond to robocallers prompting you to push a number to be placed on a do not call list.

If you fall victim to fraud call your local police, Mounties urged, and offer any evidence you have of the incident including phone numbers, email addresses and screenshots of the interaction.

To report a scam you didn’t fall victim to visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website or email info@antifraudcentre.ca.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusScams

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Resistance’ from Interior Health puts races in Penticton on hold

It’s unknown if races planned for this weekend at the Penticton Speedway will take place

RCMP to investigate hate-motivated vandalism in Summerland

Swastikas and other graffiti spray painted on house and at bandshell

AlleyCATS Okanagan: Pet of the week

Add a little Spritz and Cider to your summer

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Summerland home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Oliver cherry farm allowed to continue operating following positive COVID-19 cases

Interior Health not concerned about health risk to individuals consuming products from farm

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Fundraiser kick-started for Vernon woman battling tongue cancer

Woman’s four-year-old twins are the driving force behind her fight

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Oliver Town Hall reopens to public as COVID-19 test comes back negative

Town Hall was closed briefly as a staff member showed multiple COVID-19 symptoms

Lake Country beachgoers reminded to maintain distance amid COVID-19

Signage, park rangers, park patrol students in place to monitor busy beaches in Central Okanagan

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Vancouver Island RCMP respond to reports of man masturbating on bus

52-year-old man charged with committing an indecent act in a public place

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

Most Read