Kitchener-Waterloo

University of Waterloo warns students and staff of COVID-19 phishing scam

The University of Waterloo and the Better Business Bureau are warning people about possible COVID-19 scams. UW said a phishing scam involved a fake UW administration email and targetted students and staff.

Fake email addressed parents and guardians with an update from the Public Health Agency of Canada

The University of Waterloo and the Better Business Bureau are warning people about circulating COVID-19 scams. (CBC)

The University of Waterloo is warning students and staff about a circulating COVID-19 phishing scam.

On their website, UW's IT services says the scam comes in the form of an email with the subject line: "IMPORTANT: Coronavirus (COVID-19)."

The email addresses parents and guardians with an update from the Public Health Agency of Canada with regards to COVID-19.

The email then provides a link to a letter from medical officer of health.

"If you received an email similar to the following, do not click on any links and do not reply," the university said.

The scam used a fake UW administration email, said Matthew Grant, director of media relations for UW, adding only one case of a person opening the link has been reported so far. 

"Our IT department was able to detect and stop that scam early," he said. "We took steps to ensure that all members of our campus are aware this was a possibility."

BBB also warns of COVID-19 scams

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is also warning people about potential COVID-19 scams.

Fraudulent health products, fake charities and websites claiming to sell face masks are some of the scams the BBB has been made aware of. 

"Con artists are also impersonating the World Health Organization in phishing emails," the BBB said in a release.

"These messages claim to have news about the disease and prompts readers to download malicious software."

The BBB said people should buy products directly from sellers they know and trust to avoid getting scammed. It adds people should check if the online store they are buying from has working contact information and a real address. 

"Before offering up your name, address and credit card information, make sure the company is legitimate."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.