Scam alert: Health Canada warns of fake COVID-19 tests as RCMP makes seizure of 1,500 kits

Yahoo News Canada
A photo of a unauthorized COVID-19 kit which RCMP seized in Richmond, B.C.
A photo of a unauthorized COVID-19 kit which RCMP seized in Richmond, B.C.

Profiteering off COVID-19 has taken a new spin, as. RCMP in partnership with Health Canada arrested a Richmond, B.C. resident and seized 1,571 fake testing kits on April 30. 

The COVID-19 Fraud response team acted on a tip that COVID-19 at-home kits were being sold online to British Columbians. 

“The information we had is that there were 1,600 imported, so there is a gap of 29 missing kits,” said Cpl. Daniel Michaud, Media Relations Officer for the Federal Serious and Organized Crime.

RCMP have not charged the person with any crimes, and have indicated because it a Food and Drug violation the jurisdiction for laying charges falls to Health Canada. Yahoo News has asked Health Canada if they plan to lay charges, but has had yet to hear back.

Health Canada is advising anyone who may have purchased one of the 29 missing kits to “stop using them immediately and consult a health care professional if they have used any of these products.”

Do not buy any home testing kits

The federal health agency is now reminding all Canadians not to buy home testing kits, as no kits have not cleared any to be sold directly to the public. The tests have not been authorized by Health Canada and may provide false and inaccurate results.

Selling or advertising health products that make false or misleading claims about COVID-19 is illegal in Canada.

Instead of trying to test at home, they’re advising the people to contact their local health authority on where and how to get tested.

Anyone with information about sales or productions of fake testing kits is asked to report directly to Health Canada.

The BC RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime Financial Integrity Program created the COVID-19 Fraud Response Team to combat scams surrounding COVID-19 ranging from price gouging to online phishing around the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and unapproved medical devices.

“Canadians are reminded to be extra careful during the pandemic regarding online frauds and scams,” said Inspector Lav Mangat, Operations Officer for the BC RCMP Financial Integrity Program

Mangat added that Canadians should always assume any unsolicited contact is suspicious and often a scam. The RCMP is advising anyone who is concerned they could be being scammed to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for more information on how to report and protect themselves.

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