Fraudsters are and looking to make a quick buck in Canada while people are on high alert. Police in Alberta are warning against COVID-19 scammers in Edmonton that pose as official organizations. Some are even offering free goodies like face masks if you'd just click their link.
"There are always a part or portion of society that will attempt to exploit individuals," said the Edmonton Police Service to Narcity. "That's exactly what we want to make sure people are informed about."
EPS's Facebook post showed a text from someone claiming to be from the Red Cross.
"Due to the shortage of surgical mask, the Red-Cross will be offering one free box per household," the text read. Then it told the receiver to click on a link to collect their own.
Edmonton Police warn locals never to click any links from unknown senders, and to research the official organizations to see if they're actually doing what the text had promised.
Locals flooded the comments with their own advice on keeping their cash safe. One wrote to be careful of any spelling errors: "They almost always spell something wrong or they miss letters," they wrote.
Others pointed out that the link sent out had an insecure certificate, going with "http" instead of "https."
At the time of our call, EPS said they weren't able to tell exactly how many reports they received, but assured that they're looking into all of the claims.
Meanwhile, Red Cross became aware of the scam and tweeted, warning users not to click the link. They say they've reported the site already.
Reminder: Do not click on text messages that are claiming to give away or sell masks from the Red Cross. We have re… https://t.co/3aP2ecj6aI— Canadian Red Cross (@Canadian Red Cross)1584299375.0
Recently, the Better Business Bureau just released a list of the most common scams used by fraudsters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These include emails or texts impersonating the WHO, "miracle products" claiming to cure novel coronavirus, and fake charities claiming to be raising money for vaccine research, among many more.
You can check out their scam tracker here for similar crimes or to report a scam yourself.
EPS also warned against buy/sell websites, noting that some people will take your order and money but won't ship you any goods.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing stores to be bought out, many are trying to profit from the panic. But as long as you keep your head on a swivel, you should be alright.