For fraudsters, the chaos and disruption arising from the COVID-19 crisis spells opportunity. Forbes magazine warns that fraud trends are quickly emerging as fraudsters look to make a quick buck from the global pandemic. As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, fraudsters are profiting from consumers' fears and uncertainties, and misinformation. \nIn fact, fraud attacks are so widespread in Canada that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had to publicly warn the country.\nLeading COVID-19 frauds\nThe following is a list of seven leading COVID-19 related frauds:\n\n individuals selling fake COVID-19 cures\n websites selling fake vaccine kits\n private companies requesting fees for government relief applications\n companies selling unproven drugs to treat symptoms\n fraudsters impersonating the Public Health Agency of Canada and requesting personal information and credit card numbers\n fraudsters impersonating cleaning companies, claiming their duct-cleaning can protect people from COVID-19\n fraudsters impersonating the Red Cross and other known charities, offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation\n\nWhat can you do?\nEducation and awareness is the number one method to help combat these frauds and minimize exposure. I have produced a short video explaining fraud during COVID-19, as well as providing tips for you to protect yourself and your loved ones. You can do your part in helping protect your communities by sharing this information. \nThings to remember:\n\n The RCMP advises people to check with friends, family, or official government websites before offering up any information.\n \n Only hospitals and public health agencies are authorized to perform coronavirus tests and will not charge. No other tests are genuine or guaranteed.\n Real public health officials will not ask for your credit card information.\n If you want to donate to the Canadian Red Cross, or a similar charity, seek out its official website rather than responding to a text message claiming to be from the organization. \n Ensure the URL in emails is associated with the business it claims to be from.\n Be alert to hyperlinks that may contain misspellings of the actual domain name.\n Verify the email address used to send emails, especially when using a mobile or handheld device, by ensuring the sender's email address appears to match who it is coming from.\n\nFrom phony government, healthcare or research companies, to unsolicited calls, emails and texts giving medical advice, fraudsters are looking at gaining personal information about you during these times. If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please reach out to your local police, RCMP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).\nAdditional resources\nTo hear more about how to protect yourself from fraud during COVID-19, check out CPA Canada’s webinar Protecting yourself from fraud during COVID-19, part of the Wellness in a Time of Crisis series.\nVisit uncoverfraud.com to pre-order the new CPA Canada publication, Uncovering Fraud: True Stories About Fraud, Fraudsters & How They Got Caught.\nKeep the conversation going\nHave you noticed more fraudulent activity since COVID-19 began? Post a comment below.\nDisclaimer\nThe views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of CPA Canada.