Government officials have issued an advisory for Canadians to be aware of a text scam going around.
On Wednesday, Trudeau announced a new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) that would provide out of work Canadians with $2,000 a month for four months, regardless of whether or not they qualified for Employment Insurance.
And on Thursday, scammers began sending out texts about the (CERB) in which they claim that a deposit has been made for the benefit in the account of the recipient, and asks people to click on a link.
In response to these scams, federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau took to Twitter letting Canadians know that the government has not been texting Canadians about the CERB.
Anyone who received the text is advised to not click on the link, delete the message and warn others.
#ScamAlert: The Government is NOT sending text messages regarding the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If you have received a text message regarding the benefit, do not click the link.
— Bill Morneau (@Bill_Morneau) March 26, 2020
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also addressed the scam in his daily briefing on Thursday.
“I want to remind everyone that the government’s website is the best place to find reliable information on everything we’re doing,” said Trudeau.
This isn’t the first COVID-19 related scam that has showed up since the pandemic reached Canada.
Last week, the BC RCMP debunked a list of fraudulent claims that scammers have been making to try and dupe people out of money or personal information.
The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic. This was followed by a $5 billion relief package announced by the B.C. provincial government.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C., closure of all bars and restaurants, and a moratorium on evictions among other steps to enforce social distancing measures.
Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.
U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada has been temporarily banned as of March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 522,749.
Over 23,600 people have died from the illness and 123,322 have made a full recovery.