As the COVID-19 public health crisis continues, members of the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch, Health Fraud Investigation Unit (HFIU) say increasing health care-related scams are targeting unsuspecting, innocent victims to extort money and, in particular, personal information.
OPP Anti-Rackets HFIU warns Ontario residents to remain vigilant for scams related to COVID-19, specifically health information “harvest” sites, where fraudsters may be creating websites that trick victims into providing sensitive personal information. A number of “Virtual Care” websites have been created, many for convenience and proper healthcare services but some websites use sophisticated malware to trick people to supply personal information. This information can be used to fraudulently bill for healthcare services and commit identity theft. Fraudsters are also attempting to extort money from victims, asking for upfront money before providing a service or for an administrative fee, said police in a release.
How to protect yourself:
Beware of companies that claim cures and prevention for COVID-19.
Do your research before you provide your Ontario Health Card number, version code or other personal information.
Never download an attachment from an email or website with which you are unfamiliar.
Even if a website or email appears to be from a familiar organization, the source could be spoofed.
No one should be subjected to surcharges such as additional technical charges or sanitizing costs if you attend a physician’s office.
Verify who is calling if you receive a phone call requesting your personal information.
The best defense is to question websites, emails or phone calls that appear to be legitimate. Just say ‘NO’ if anyone contacts you and asks for any information regarding your health card number and/or your health card version code, bank account number, credit card information, driver’s license number or any other personally identifying information. Simply end all contact with any companies or individuals who ask for this information.
If you or someone you know suspect they’ve been a victim of a COVID-19, health care related scam or any other scam, contact your local police service or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.
8:55 PM | Waterloo Regional Police responded to a collision involving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on private property in the area of Woolwich Street South and Shallow Creek Road in Breslau. A 47-year-old male lost control of the ATV and was subsequently ejected from the vehicle. The man was transported to an out-of-region hospital with serious injuries. The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
7:15 PM | Waterloo Regional Police received a report of three youth using the playground and fitness equipment at Gibson Park. When officers arrived, the young people were gone.
9:03 AM | Waterloo Regional Police received a report of a break-and-enter in the area of Reitzel Place and Lobsinger Line in St. Jacobs. A fenced compound was entered and a tent trailer was stolen. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
11:30 AM | Wellington County OPP responded to a serious collision involving two motor vehicles on Wellington Road 6 and 12th Line. Initial reports indicated a black sedan and a tractor trailer collided and the driver of the sedan was injured. OPP, Minto Fire Rescue and Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service attended the scene. The driver of the sedan, a 74-year-old woman from Brussels, was transported to a trauma centre with life-threatening injuries. Police are asking anyone that may have witnessed this collision to call 1-888-310-1122.
12:28 PM | Waterloo Regional Police received a report of a shoplifter at a store in the area of Arthur Street South and South Field Drive in Elmira. An individual selected products outside of the store before entering the store. The individual bought other products when in the store, but did not pay for the previous selected products. The investigation is ongoing.
6:52 PM | Waterloo Regional Police were called after a truck driver reported damage to their truck. The truck was travelling in the area of Lobsinger Line and Durst Road near St. Jacobs when a coffee cup was thrown out of a passing vehicle. The cup hit the windshield, causing it to break. There were no reported injuries as a result of the incident.
2:26 AM | A vehicle travelling on Line 86 in Woolwich Township struck a deer. The occupants of the vehicle did not report any physical injuries.
8:30 AM | Waterloo Regional Police received a report of a break-in at a business in the area of Fountain Street North and Jetliner Court in Breslau. A fenced compound was entered and the suspects took a quantity of tools from the business. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
4:45 PM | A 20-year-old Amherstburg man drowned at the Elora Gorge. Wellington County OPP responded when the man went under water while swimming and never resurfaced. The OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit attended the scene and recovered the body of the missing male. Police continue to investigate.
5:15 PM | Waterloo Regional Police responded to a report of a collision in the area of Queens Bush Road in Wellesley Township. A vehicle operated by an elderly driver struck a parked car. The collision was determined to be caused by a medical event. The driver was taken to hospital to receive care.