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Ombudsman’s statement regarding heightened risk of fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic

April 2, 2020

At this time, when many of us are feeling worried about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, criminals are preying on people’s fears.  Fraudsters are using telephone, e-mail, texting and other social media scams to try to access your personal information, bank account information and credit card details. There are even reports of door-to-door salespeople selling disinfecting products or offering health services or medications.

Scammers have created fake websites selling masks, and home testing kits for the virus. Another scam offers free facemasks via text message. In a telephone scam, a caller may contact you saying a loved one tested positive for coronavirus and in order for them to get the results, there is a healthcare fee to be paid, as well as a testing fee. Canadian police services are also reporting a text scam related to the new federal emergency response benefit. You may receive a text alert telling you a deposit has been made and then asking you to click on a link and give personal information to claim the money.

I urge all Canadians to be very cautious of communications asking for any kind of financial information or payments, particularly concerning COVID-19. Remain vigilant & do not share any personal information with unsolicited callers, emails or text messages. Call the police immediately in your area if you have been victimized by such a scam.  

To report a fraud that you have not fallen victim to, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or at 1-888-495-8501.

  • Be careful of fake websites or scams where fraudsters spoof or pretend to be a legitimate charity.
  • If you receive one of these telephone scams, please hang up immediately and report by calling the non-emergency line for local law enforcement.
  • Never share your personal healthcare number, ID or credit card information by telephone, email or text message.
  • Visit trusted government websites for information & updates about COVID-19.


Heidi Illingworth
Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime