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.

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