COVID-19 Vaccine Scam Alert

This bulletin was prepared to warn consumers of ongoing fraud reporting tied to COVID-19 vaccines. While pandemic related scams have been ongoing, recent reporting to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has identified potential ongoing frauds linked to COVID-19 vaccines.

Phishing, Spear Phishing and Malicious Links

In a recently reported case, a resident in Alberta received an email from a friend with a link to a video about the COVID-19 vaccine. After watching the video, a number of internet links were presented and clicked resulting in their computer freezing. A subsequent error message with contact information for a suspicious technical support company was displayed via a pop-up. After calling the toll free number for the technical support company, the consumer was directed to go to a local retailer to buy Google Play and Steam gift cards to pay for their “account authentication”.

Beware of:

  • Coronavirus-themed and COVID-19 vaccination themed emails or text messages
    • tricking you into opening malicious attachment
    • tricking you to reveal sensitive personal and financial details
  • Make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your devices and keep your operating system up to date

Telephone calls offering home vaccinations kits

In another recent report, the CAFC received anonymous information indicating that a resident in Canada had received a phone call from someone claiming to work for a pharmaceutical company and offering a “6 shot vaccine system”. The resident was told that they would receive the
medication in the mail or by delivery, and that they would be responsible to give themselves the vaccine. They were informed that the first shot would be $450.00 CAD and that the total would be $2,500.00 CAD.

Beware of:

  • Unsolicited calls claiming to be from a private company or health care providers offering home vaccination kits for an up-front fee.
  • Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
    • Only health care providers can perform the tests
    • No other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results
  • Private companies selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent the disease
    • Unapproved drugs threaten public health and violate federal laws
  • Questionable offers, such as:
    • miracle cures
    • herbal remedies
    • vaccinations
    • faster testing
  • Fake and deceptive online ads, including:
    • face masks
    • hand sanitizers
    • other items in high demand

How to Protect Yourself

Stay informed:

If you have questions about getting vaccinated, contact your family physician or local health care providers.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at www.antifraudcentrecentreantifraude.ca.

Source: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

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