Canadians warned to be aware of COVID-19 emergency funds texting scam
TORONTO -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning Canadians about scammers posing as federal government staff and claiming to offer emergency funds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trudeau said the scam text messages were sent to Canadians shortly after the federal government announced the Canada emergency response benefit.
“I'm sorry to say there appears to be a text scam going around on the new emergency response benefit. I want to remind everyone that the government's website is the best place to find reliable information on everything we're doing,” Trudeau said.
Scarborough residents Samantha MacAdam said she got the scam text recently and it read, “the emergency response benefit of Canada relief fund has sent you a deposit of $1,375."
“I saw a link come through that said my refund was ready for me," she said. “Part of me wanted to believe it was true because there is so much information flying at you about what you’re entitled to, but I was sure it wasn't a legitimate way to get it."
People have reported other similar COVID-19 fake texts going around, including scams that appear to offer free points for Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart.
Shoppers Drug Mart sent out its own text today saying, "These are not legitimate and we are investigating further."
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in North Bay, Ont. said it too has received reports of the scam texts involving assistance due to Covid-19.
Spokesperson Jeff Thomson said that when you click on the links in the scam texts you'll typically be taken to a fake website.
“What happens is you're going to be brought to a website where it's going to ask you for your banking information to give you your so-called deposit,” he said. “It's designed to harvest your personal financial information at the end of the day.”
MacAdam told CTV News Toronto that she is happy to spread the word so that no one else gets caught in the texting scam.
“People are getting desperate and we are in trying times we have never been in before,” she said. “I’m glad to get the word out about these scammers because it's the last thing we need to be dealing with at this time.”
The federal government's website www.canada.ca has the latest information on the virus and the financial programs that are available to Canadians.