As with any major event, fraudsters and scammers have found ways to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some of the more recent scams reported circulating in New Brunswick.
Fake job offers
A New Brunswicker reported receiving an unsolicited email job opportunity to manage and invest a multi-million fund for a “group of VIP clients and corporate individuals.” In Canada, anyone in the business of trading securities must be registered with their provincial or territorial securities regulator, unless an exemption applies. In New Brunswick, an individual must be registered with FCNB to act as dealer or adviser. Exercise caution when responding to unsolicited emails or ads offering investment opportunities and opportunities to work as securities traders without any former experience or a licence.
Fake financial professionals
Scam artists are using fear around the current economic conditions to steal investors’ money. They are posing as financial professionals offering to help investors’ recoup any financial losses experienced over the past few months due to the pandemic. FCNB is urging investors contacted by anyone with warnings about their investments or finances to refrain from giving out any personal information. In New Brunswick an individual must be registered with FCNB to act as a dealer or adviser.
New Brunswickers have reported scammers are stealing their identity to sign up for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to receive payments. Be cautious about posting personal information on the Web, like on online classified or social media sites. Fraudsters can glean information from these sites and use it to apply for the benefit, among other things.
Some people have reported receiving emails, calls and texts from someone pretending to be a public health official falsely saying the person called had been in contact with someone who has symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19. The scammers try to trick you into confirming your health card and credit card numbers to book a test appointment or to receive a prescription for medication. They then use your stolen personal information to: access your computer, email or bank accounts; apply for loans, credit cards or government benefits; or buy goods and services.
Inheritance scams are circulating where the fraudster claims to be a lawyer representing a couple who has passed away due to COVID-19, leaving a large sum of money with no beneficiary. They advise you that you need to pay one or more fees before the money can be released. However, the money doesn’t exist and you never receive anything. Remember to be wary of emails and texts requesting personal information to receive payments of any kind.
Learn about more COVID-19 frauds and scams by visiting our website. At FCNB, we share information on the red flags of fraud and information about current scams circulating in the province in an effort to help New Brunswickers protect themselves and their communities. While scams change and adapt, the red flags of fraud tend to be common across different types of scams. The more people can recognize the red flags, think critically about offers and be vigilant, the fewer people will end up being scammed.
Here are some of the red flags:
- Unsolicited calls or emails
- Too good to be true offers
- Requests for personal or financial information through unsecure channels
- Emails or letters requesting personal information to receive payments of any kind
- Spelling and grammar mistakes
- General greetings such as “Dear Client” instead of your name.
New Brunswickers are encouraged to use these best practices when it comes to frauds and scams:
- Never send money or personal information to strangers who contact you out of the blue.
- Take a moment to calm down and think clearly.
- Don’t rush a decision.
- Think critically about what you’re being offered.
- Seek the advice of a registered financial professional. Checking that individuals and firms who may play a role in your financial life have the required licence or registration is an important first step in protecting yourself from frauds and scams.
Where to report the scams:
If you have concerns about those in the business of trading or providing investment advice or offering door-to-door sales, report it to FCNB online or call 1-866-933-2222. For the other scams listed here, contact your local police or RCMP, or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit www.antifraudcentre.ca.
Keep up to date on latest scams circulating in New Brunswick by following FCNB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Learn more about how to report fraud and where to report fraud. Sign up to receive fraud alerts delivered to your inbox.