As the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre surpasses 1,000 reports of people trying to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCMP is offering tips to protect yourself from fraudsters.
Since the federal government launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), it has become the subject of a number of scams.
This includes reports of service scams, phishing scams and identity fraud related to the CERB.
A new one is third-party companies offering to assist you with government applications, including the CERB.
Once you receive your funds, you will also receive an invoice for their services.
Some companies may suggest that this fee covers the taxable portion of the income. Additionally, many of these companies may seem to be associated with the government, but they are not, the RCMP says.
As well, criminals are using stolen identities to open bank accounts and submit CERB applications in your name.
The phishing scams are sent by email or text, and the messaging suggests that you can submit an application, that your information needs to be confirmed or that your payment is ready.
If you click the included link, you will be directed to a fraudulent website and asked to submit your personal information.
The RCMP is reminding you that providing your personal or financial information puts you at-risk for identity fraud.
The RCMP says you can take these steps to protect yourself:
- Learn everything there is to know about the CERB and submit an application at: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html
- Government of Canada and provincial government services are free to access.
- Do not respond to unsolicited emails or text messages.
- Immediately report any unauthorized credit applications to the associated financial institution and the credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion.
- Learn more tips and tricks for protecting yourself.
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.antifraudcentre.ca