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)

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

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on BC highways – check point at Manning Park

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

The AHL Board of Governors has approved the Vancouver Canucks decision to move their franchise to Abbotsford. (File photo)
AHL approves Canucks’ franchise relocation to Abbotsford

Board of Governors approves move, season set to start on Oct. 15

Abbotsford Police Department Traffic Enforcement Unit officers were enforcing Highway 11 on Thursday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford police enforce traffic on Highway 11

APD Traffic Enforcement Unit regularly responds to general public hot spot complaints

First responders were on the scene at West Oaks Mall following a collision involving a pedestrian on Sept. 29, 2020. (Kevin MacDonald file photo)
Man charged in relation to hit-and-run that injured pedestrian in Abbotsford

Collision took place in September 2020 in crosswalk at West Oaks Mall

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read