On April 30, 2020, RCMP said officers seized 1,500 fake test kits from a resident in Richmond. It is illegal to sell unauthorized health equipment in Canada. (RCMP handout)

Police seize 1,500 fake COVID-19 tests being sold in B.C.

Richmond resident won’t be charged, fraud task force says

RCMP have seized 1,500 fake COVID-19 test kits which they say were being sold in B.C.

The COVID-19 Fraud Response Team, in partnership with Health Canada, acted on a tip from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre recently, police said in a statement Thursday (April 30).

That brought them to the home of a Richmond resident where police seized the unauthorized kits, which claimed to be a “rapid” COVID-19 test and featured a how-to cassette. No charges are being laid against the individual at this time, police said.

Selling or advertising health products that make false or misleading claims to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure COVID-19 is illegal in Canada. Only diagnostic tests authorized by Health Canada can be imported or sold in Canada. Authorized COVID-19 tests provide accurate and reliable results, whereas unauthorized tests may lead to potential misdiagnosis.

Those who suspect they have the contagious respiratory illness are urged to call HealthLink BC at 811 and request to be tested by health officials.

The fraud response task force was implemented in April, to deal with various scams that are coming out during the pandemic. Canadian officials monitor websites for false and misleading claims and have been working with online retailers to ensure that unauthorized products and products making unauthorized claims are removed from their websites.

The novel coronavirus has not only disrupted daily life, but created vast opportunity for scammers to bilk unknowing victims out of money and personal information.

READ MORE: Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

The types of scams can be infinite and change daily, police said, ranging from unauthorized sale of unapproved medical devices to online phishing regarding fake COVID-19 testing, Revenue Canada and government grants such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

In March, the federal government warned Canadians of a CERB scam circulating by text message, erroneously telling recipients of the message to click a link to ensure their application for the emergency benefit was approved.

In addition to scams, police have been monitoring for people attempting to re-sell personal protective equipment at inflated costs, which is illegal in B.C. under the provincial state of emergency.

READ MORE: B.C. bans ‘shameful black market’ of food, medical supplies; limits buying quantities


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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