The rules and issues around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and information changes consistently. Please take note of when our content was written and always go to the sources we’ve provided for the most current guidance.
Since the Government of Canada launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), it has become the subject of a number of scams. Here are two popular scams and how to protect yourself from them.
With the current global pandemic, scammers are finding ways to profit off uncertainty and fear. The first step is being aware of what scams are operating and learning how to avoid falling victim to one. With information adapted from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Canada Revenue Agency, here are two popular scams and how to protect yourself from them:
1. Questionable third-party companies offer to help you fill out applications for CERB
How to protect yourself:
- Be wary of third-party companies offering help to fill out applications
- Instead, go to the source directly to apply for CERB
- Make sure you have the right link or number before you apply. Here are the two legitimate ways to apply:
- Online at Canada.ca/Coronavirus
- By automated toll-free phone at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 (bilingual)
- If you have questions, refer to the Government of Canada webpages on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
2. Criminals using your identity to sign-up for CERB and receive payments
How to protect yourself:
- Be wary of unsolicited e-mails, text messages, telephone calls or mail asking you for personal or financial information
- Check your credit reports, bank and credit card statements and report any irregularities
- Shred personal and financial documents before putting them in the garbage
- Retrieve your mail on a regular basis to limit possible mail theft
- When you move, notify the post office and your relevant financial institutions and service providers
- If you get a text message saying you received a deposit for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit – it is a scam! Do not reply or click on the link, delete the text and warn others
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Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.