It should come as no surprise to anyone that some people like to pray on the vulnerable. Perhaps it is in our caveman DNA, or perhaps it’s just that we have some really awful people in this world that take something like the pandemic as an opportunity to fleece people out of their money.
A famous quote that may go back as far as Machiavelli, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Although we’ve seen an amazing response to things we were told were never thought possible in this crazy environment. A vaccine in under 18 months has rarely happened despite all the viral outbreak movies where we miraculously find the cure within 48 hours of learning of a virus, as long as we look through the microscope enough. They said it would be impossible to move all classes online for universities or colleges, but they managed to do it within weeks. Or even that many people said it would be impossible to do our jobs from home, but, for many people that became a way of life over the first half of 2020.
The Canadian government came out with a series of financial programs to try and help Canadians manage through this pandemic. The scammers out there were able to spot the opportunity, posing as third parties to try and “help” you fill out the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or other applications, while just stealing your information, or banking information instead. Some have used that information to fraudulently sign up for CERB in those people’s names and take the money.
To protect yourself, here are some common sense things you remember, even in times of crisis there are opportunists out there with bad intent:
- Never respond or click on a suspicious links or attachments in an email
- Never give out your personal or financial details
- Don’t be pressured into giving a donation
- DO NOT fall for questionable products such as;
- Miracle cures, even if the US president thinks they might be ok…
- Herbal remedies offering protection or treatment
- Vaccines. Like wouldn’t we have heard, and not just a dude trying to sell it on his poorly designed website, or over email or the phone?
- Beware of fraudulent loan and financial service companies offering loans or debt consolidation services that are not a real bank or credit union
- Private companies offering faster testing (that’s not a thing), unapproved drugs, or posing as your power company threatening to cut off services without an immediate payment
This list could go on and on. Check out the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for more information. The threat to people’s health and financial health has been very real during the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t let this crisis become even worse for you by being swindled by someone who is taking very real advantage of this crisis and our fears.