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

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
Injured mountain biker rescued in West Kelowna

The mountain biker reportedly has a hip injury about 1 km up the Smith Creek Road trail

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

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

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Gord with a mom and her young son outside Pathways which was defunded on May 31. (Facebook)
Gord Portman with a mom and her child outside of Pathways. The sign says it all about the difference Pathways has made in people’s lives. They were defunded by Interior Health on May 31.
Penticton man takes the plunge for the recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

Most Read