Scam and fraud artists likely to use COVID-19 to trick local residents

It appears the depths to which scam artists will plumb is unknown as reports of callers posting as health officials in an attempt to gain personal information has flared up recently.

Prince Edward OPP continue to remind people to guard information and remain skeptical when unsolicited calls come into their home.

“As folks continue to respond to the ever evolving climate surrounding COVID-19, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Prince Edward County Detachment would like to remind everyone not to let their guard down when it comes to scams,”  Community Safety / Media Relations Officer  Constable Aaron Miller said. “Fraudsters are attempting to take advantage of these times and are attempting to profit from consumer fear, uncertainty and misinformation. While fraudsters continue to utilize traditional techniques, they have developed a series of new ideas in attempt to exploit the current trend.”

A few of the current scams include:Fraudulent government, healthcare or research information accounts; Unsolicited calls, emails or texts giving medical advice; Unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for products or research; Questionable offers including miracle cures, herbal remedies or faster testing and Fake and deceptive online ads including cleaning products and hand sanitizer

Miller added fraudsters are also posing as a number of agencies including:Electrical companies threatening to disconnect power;  Centre for disease control and prevention; Red Cross; Government departments and Cleaning or heating companies offering duct cleaning services or air filters to protect from COVID-19.

“These fraudsters continue to evolve and develop new techniques. See the attached link for information pertaining to scams surrounding COVID-19 specifically,” Miller said.  “Remember: legitimate agencies will never pressure you for information over the phone or demand money immediately. Knowledge is Power.”