As COVID-19 vaccination ramps up in Quebec, watch out for scams. According to the provincial government and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), fraudsters are calling people up to offer vaccines for a fee — and nothing about it is legit.
The CAFC told MTL Blog that between September 2020 — prior to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Canada — and January 2021, it received reports of fraud calls offering "vaccine kits," "vaccine sign-up links" and scam-artists posing as the World Health Organization.
In total, the CAFC received:
One September 2020 report of an unsolicited email offering gloves, test kits and vaccines
One December 2020 report of an unsolicited call offering a home vaccination kit for an up-front fee
One January 2021 report of an unsolicited email asking people to click links to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine
One January 2021 report of an unsolicited call claiming to be World Health Organization and asking individuals to register for their vaccine shot, but claiming individuals needed to buy gift cards to secure their spot.
COVID-19 vaccinations are free and conducted by your provincial immunization program.
If you're being contacted online or by phone and being asked to pay for your vaccine, it's not real.
Due to public health rules, Canadians are relying on #OnlineShopping more than ever. This puts us at greater risk o… https://t.co/UoYJt8qHgm— Competition Bureau Canada (@Competition Bureau Canada) 1614720622.0
A new survey by Interac Canada shows that more than half of Canadians believe there's a greater risk of fraud in general — not just related to vaccines — during the pandemic due to increased online activities, such as online banking, online shopping and access to government services.
Most notably, 58% of respondents said the pandemic has increased stress levels with regard to fraud in Canada and 55% of Canadians surveyed worried increased isolation is making the population more susceptible to fraud.
Nearly six in 10 survey respondents — or 57% — reported seeing increased fraud attempts during the pandemic year.
According to Interac Canada, the virtual nature of COVID-19 is making young Canadians more aware of fraud and more "scam savvy."
Survey results showed that Gen Z adults are the most likely to report that they themselves or someone close to them had fallen victim to fraud during the pandemic year, at 52%.
In contrast, only 30% of seniors aged 65 and over reported that they or someone close to them had fallen victim to fraud during the pandemic year.
You can report any fraud or scams you experience to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online.