How to protect yourself against the 9 COVID 19 scams.
In Charles Dickens’ words “These are the best of times, these are the worst of times….”
These opening words from his novel “A Tale of Two Cities” in 1859 ring very true today. There is no doubt that these are challenging and stressful times. Each day we are bombarded with media stories about the growing pandemic, election issues in the U.S. and global calamities. We all know people who are undergoing personal struggles with loneliness and financial stress. Yet we also see people who have become heroes for their families or communities.
However, not only do we need to protect ourselves and our loved ones against the COVID-19 virus, we also must protect them against scams aimed at the most vulnerable by taking advantage of the misinformation, the fear and the uncertainty that we are all feeling.
I often say that Information is Power! If we can arm ourselves and our loved ones with some facts and information, we can help them protect themselves against these frauds.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, there are 9 scams that are being used to take advantage of people during the COVID-19 crisis:
- Emails, phone calls and text messages encouraging seniors to apply for COVID-related government benefits.
- A version of the CRA scam where fraudsters threaten that your provincial medical benefits have run out, or are running out, and you need to send money to reinstate them or to buy private medical insurance.
- A phone call from someone posing as a representative from a provincial or municipal health authority saying you have been found to either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it. The caller then asks for your credit card to pay for testing or results.
- A phone call from someone posing as a Canada Post or UPS representative saying you have a package (often international) that they’ve attempted to deliver but you need to pay duty or shipping first.
- Fake financial planners calling about opportunities to boost your investment portfolio after losses due to COVID-19.
- Fake bank messages asking for a social insurance number and banking information to set up direct deposit for government funds due to COVID-19.
- Websites asking for credit card donations to help purchase personal protective equipment for front line health care workers.
- A phone call from a fake community organization claiming they’re trying to help socially isolated seniors. In some cases, these callers are trying to identify vulnerable seniors to gain access to their home to sell them things or steal their personal information.
- Romance scams through social media and online dating sites targeting seniors who may feel lonely due to isolation during the crisis.
For additional information here are some trusted sources you can visit:
Certainly, there are also legitimate charities and organizations that are reaching out to the community to help people during this crisis. It’s important to verify that the organization you're dealing with is legitimate before you take any other action. And never, ever, ever give out your personal financial information.
As always, if you have questions about the markets, your financial plan, or your investment strategies, I’m here to talk.
Keep well and stay safe.