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

Just Posted

The Victoria International Airport saw its revenues plummet in 2020. Officials hope a proposed warehouse will be a significant revenue generator. (Black Press Media file photo)
Head of Victoria Airport Authority makes economic pitch for Sidney warehouse project

Geoff Dickson said Sidney stands to earn $325,000 in annual taxes

Participants take part in a previous Walk for Alzheimer’s. This year’s event is being held virtually and participants are asked to set a walking or fitness challenge during May. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents invited to set fitness challenge for Alzheimer’s

IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s goes virtual during the month of May

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Cadboro Bay teen meets with minister after advocacy against Coastal GasLink

15-year-old Claremont student and George Heyman discussed the project for about 30 minutes

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read