Victoria police warn of COVID-19 scams

Victoria police are warning citizens of scam artists who are using tales of COVID-19 to commit their crimes.

The online frauds use the fear of COVID-19 financial impacts to grab attention, inviting victims to click on links that will compromise their personal and financial information.

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On Thursday, the Department of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office both shared warnings about a text message circulating across the country.

The text message claims the victim has received a deposit from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This text is a scam. The Department of Finance has asked those who receive it not to click on the link.

If you receive such a text or email, delete it and warn others.

In another email-based COVID-19 fraud circulating, scammers claim to be representatives of a major Canadian bank. The email asks victims to open an attached document that, if opened, leads to fraud risk.

This email purports to come from a representative from that financial service institution who shows up in Google search results, creating a false sense of legitimacy.

Police say if you receive an unexpected text, email or other electronic message from someone you don’t know that asks you to visit a website, click on a link, or open a document — pause. Do not open it until you’ve spoken with someone you trust.

With electronic messages that claim to come from a government agency, financial institution or other agency, contact the agency yourself.

For example, if you receive a text claiming to be from Revenue Canada, look up the Revenue Canada contact number in your area and then telephone them directly.

For more tips on avoiding fraud, go to vicpd.ca/fraud or antifraudcentre.ca.

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