Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world are struggling in many ways. As a result of physical, mental, emotional and psychological stress due to job loss, job insecurity, social isolation and health concerns, many people are at their most vulnerable. Unfortunately, hackers and scammers are able to take advantage of this.
Reports from the Canadian government have indicated that a disturbing number of vaccine scams have surfaced around the country. Shockingly, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported that Canadians have been defrauded out of 7.2 million dollars in the last 12 months due to COVID-19 scams. Because of the confusion and the frustration around the virus and the vaccine rollout, hackers are finding it easy to trick people through tactics of fear and excitement into falling for their scams.
A very common vaccine scheme has been “jump the line” schemes, in which scammers send out notifications to vulnerable individuals telling them that they have been awarded the opportunity to jump ahead of the vaccine rollout schedule and get their vaccine. These notifications are rife with malware and dangerous viruses that can affect the individual both emotionally and financially. These false notifications come through many forms, including emails, text messages and online advertisements.
Tips for avoiding these schemes include:
Help the older, more vulnerable individuals in your life to find out when they become eligible for the vaccine and assist them in booking their vaccine appointment. Scammers target older populations in particular online because of their lack of experience in the digital world
Understand that you NEVER have to pay for a vaccine or for a vaccine appointment. Never give up your financial information to anyone claiming to be a Health Canada or a medical representative. You also cannot pay to jump the line or reserve a spot, so stay clear of any advertisement or communication that claims you can.
Don’t fall for “at-home, do-it-yourself” vaccine kits. Vaccines are not for sale to individual consumers and they will not be shipped to your home.
Only deal with trustworthy sources when researching the vaccine and when booking your appointment. Consult official government or healthcare websites for COVID-19 and vaccine related information and avoid “click bait” vaccine advertisements or articles.
Now is the time to be vigilant in protecting yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 vaccine schemes. You already have enough to worry about this – don’t add a scammer to the list of problems. If you are looking for additional consultation or need help after being the victim of this type of scam, let us know at Investigation Hotline, and we will send you the help you need straight away.