COVID-19 SMS scams targeting Quebecers by offering prizes, information
It seems that several COVID-19 related SMS scams have hit Quebecers’ phones lately, offering everything from information to money.
In a scam, Quebecers say they are receiving text messages offering them cash or prizes as a reward for receiving their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Others say they have received mysterious messages giving vague “information” about their booster shots.
A third hoax asks people to click on a link to view their isolation guidelines because they tested positive for COVID-19 – even if they never took a PCR test.
The texts ask people to click on a link, usually something like gouv.msss-qc.ca or msss.gouv-qc.ca, which looks a lot like the official Ministry of Health website, msss.gouv. sth. California.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, there are currently dozens of scams related to COVID-19, including “many frauds and scams [that] attempt to mimic real federal government services to access your personal and financial information.”
The Canadian Center for Cyber Security offers some tips for people to stay cyber safe, including:
Be careful if the tone of the message is urgent or threatening;
Check for typos;
Don’t click on links or attachments from senders you don’t know;
Use trusted anti-malware software;
Check web addresses for misspellings;
Access the page using a search engine instead of clicking on a link provided;
Do not submit login credentials or credit card details unless you are sure the web page is legitimate.
Anyone affected by fraud related to COVID-19 is asked to report it to the government.