A new phone scam is taking advantage of fears surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The caller tells the victim they’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. While this is how some contact tracing takes place, what happens next on the phone call is what marks it as a scam.
The caller says that a mandatory testing kit needs to be mailed to the person’s home, and that their home address is needed. Also required is a credit card number for a $50 fee for the kit.
This call happened to a Chilliwack man with dementia recently, and the Chilliwack Seniors Resource Society is sounding the alarm so that others won’t fall victim to the scam.
Lori White, program and activity coordinator for the society called the scam “disgusting,” in the way it preys on those who trust authority. Thankfully, with the case they have heard of, the person did not have access to their credit card information.
“If he had access, he probably would have gone along with it,” she said. “They threaten you with consequences, and because of the fear they fall for it.”
The society has a regular presenter come in and give talks about different scams making their way through communities.
She says there are a number of clues that a caller has bad intentions. Asking for financial information is a big one. Another is if the call turns threatening, or if they are offering a deal that is too good to be true.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.