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BBB reminds people to watch out for COVID-19 scams

As people continue to struggle financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reminding residents to watch out for scams that seek to take advantage of people's vulnerabilities.

"Unfortunately, scammers are using this global crisis to take advantage of people, many of whom may be more vulnerable during these uncertain times," a press release from BBB stated. "They are capitalizing on prevailing fears and anxieties about the disease to fleece victims of their money and steal their identity."

For laid-off workers who are seeking flexible and temporary employment, BBB reminds people to be on the lookout for employment scams, which may be disguised as a great new career opportunity with flexibility. 

"Always be wary of positions that do not require special training or licensing," the press release stated. "Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads. If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company's job page to see if the position is posted there.

"Look online – if the job comes up in other cities with the exact same post, it is likely a scam."

Other job offers to watch out for, according to BBB, are ones that do not include an interview.

"A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring to ensure they have all the right traits for the job," the release stated.

Overpayment scams are also prevalent. According to BBB, no legitimate job would ask for money to be wired elsewhere as a condition to start working.

"Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities or big income as long as you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories," the release stated.

Other schemes to be wary of include those that are posed as information coming directly from government. BBB states some scammers are posing as government representatives to entice consumers to provide them personal information or banking information.

"Educate yourself on the terms of the financial aid by visiting the Government of Canada and or the Government of Alberta website for the latest updates and process to claim assistance," the release read.

BBB also warns residents to be wary of unsolicited text messages or social media messages, and reminds people that government agencies do not communicate through these channels.

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