The OPP is warning the public about the increasing number of health-care related scams, that are targeting unsuspecting victims to extort money and personal information.

The OPP’s Anti-Rackets Health Fraud Investigation Unit warns residents to remain vigilant for scams related to COVID-19, specifically health information “harvest” sites, where fraudsters create websites that trick victims into providing sensitive personal information.

The OPP says this information can then be used to fraudulently bill for healthcare services and common identity thefts, as well as extorting money by asking for money up front to provide a service or administrative fee.

The Anti-Rackets Fraud unit provided the following tips:

- Beware of companies that claim cures and prevention for COVID-19,
- Do your research before you provide your Ontario Health Card number or other information,
- Never download an attachment from an email or website that you are unfamiliar with,
- 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,
- Verify who is calling you if you receive a phone call requesting your personal information,

Police are reminding the public to always question websites, emails or phone calls that appear to be legitimate, and always say no if anyone asks for information regarding your health care number, bank number, credit card information, diver’s license number and more.