We are entering a time of unprecedented personal restriction, and being good global and community citizens, we are all striving to do our part to both protect and support our families and communities. But even with the vast majority giving that extra bit of effort to aid and assist, there remains that very small minority who seek to profit and abuse the public good.
We have been made aware of a number of unscrupulous scams regarding COVID-19, especially within the GTA, including:
- Door-to-door sales of COVID-19 testing kits.
- Texts/emails/phone calls from companies offering fast test results.
- Texts/emails asking the recipient to “click a link” to claim their free face mask from the Red Cross or similar organization.
- Texts/emails that the recipient is suspected to have come in contact with/be infected by COVID-19 and requests credit card information to ship medication.
- Offers to invest in stocks related to the illness.
- Soliciting on-line donations for COVID-19 related work.
- Only seek information from trusted sources, including the World Health Organization, the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto
- Currently only hospitals are authorized to conduct COVID-19 screening tests. Do not respond to any offers to buy COVID-19 testing kits etc. whether through text/email offers, over the phone, or at your door step.
- Do not open unknown emails/texts and NEVER click on any links from unknown senders. If you do not know the sender, nor recognize the email address or phone number, delete it!
- When in doubt, research it. Before you respond to any request, especially one for money, you should confirm to the best of your ability that the request is legitimate, for example by contacting the organization on your own to verify the details. If you are being solicited at your door step, DO NOT allow anyone into your home. Excuse yourself, for example by saying you will need time to consider the offer/appeal, close and lock your door, and report the incident to police.
- Report it. If you have been targeted by any of these scams you should report it to local police. If it is an emergency call 911, otherwise you can reach police at:
- Toronto Police Service (non-emergency): 416-808-2222
- York Regional Police (non-emergency): 866-876-5423
- Once you have reported it to police, please contact the Community Security Hotline (416-635-5600) so that updated and relevant information can be shared more broadly across our community.