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Scam COVID-19 emails leading to more internet fraud in Saskatoon: police

Click to play video: 'Scammers taking advantage of COVID-19' Scammers taking advantage of COVID-19
Opportunistic fraudsters haven't delayed in taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. – Apr 23, 2020

More people in Saskatoon are falling victim to internet fraud to scam COVID-19 emails, according to Saskatoon Police Service.

“Anytime there’s an international or national issue, there are going to be groups that try to swoop in and take advantage of that,” said chief Troy Cooper during a virtual press conference Wednesday.

READ MORE: Scammers target online job seekers during COVID-19 pandemic

Saskatoon police do not track frauds specific to their type, in this case internet fraud. But Cooper said that fraud in general is one of the crimes in the city on the rise amid the pandemic.

“People were clicking on maps, for example, that showed the spread of COVID across the world that arrive in their email,” Cooper said.

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“Those maps were designed to capture information about the person.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus-related scams have defrauded Canadians $1.2M: official

Cooper said the best thing police can do is inform the public when these scams are circulating, but even that can’t always stop it from happening.

“By the time we educate the public they make some small changes to the way that they defraud people and they’re back at it again,” he said.

READ MORE: Scammers have never had a more target-rich environment amid coronavirus pandemic: experts

He said he advises people to check where a source is coming from and to only access trusted sources of information, never provide financial information over the internet unless through a trusted source, and if something seems suspicious, just leave it.

Victims of these scams are asked to contact Saskatoon police, which may direct them to another organization from there. Cooper said they may also need to contact their financial institution.

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