KITCHENER -- The COVID-19 pandemic is giving scam artists another avenue to prey on vulnerable people.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning the public to be on the lookout for scams related to the outbreak.

"COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is affecting people, businesses and communities around the world," a news release from the BBB reads in part.

"While this is bad news for Canadians, it’s great news for scammers who are cashing in on our anxiety about the disease."

Prevalent scams that have been reported include:

  • Scam websites claiming to be selling face masks

The BBB says that you should only buy from reputable stores and websites.

With face masks selling out at retailers around the country, scammers are setting up phony websites to sell them online.

While shopping, be savvy about product claims. The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend wearing a mask unless you are showing symptoms.

  • Fraudulent health products claiming to prevent coronavirus

The BBB warns that you should be wary of personal testimonials or "miracle" claims.

No cure for COVID-19 has been developed and there is no vaccine.

  • Fake charities claiming to be a government program raising funds for the development of a vaccine

Scam and phishing emails and calls for fake fundraising efforts are trying to take advantage of people's generosity.

Con artists impersonating the World Health Organization in phishing emails that prompt the recipient to download malicious software

"Better Business Bureau reminds everyone to remain vigilant to avoid scams related to the virus, use necessary, common sense precautions when traveling, and find reliable sources to stay informed about what to do as the virus spreads," read the release.

The organization encourages residents to report COVID-19 scams as they spot them to the BBB Scam Tracker.