Police say they have arrested and charged men from Ottawa and Quebec who allegedly broke the province’s COVID-19 vaccination system to fish for personal information from people who recently ordered a deal.
After carrying out two search warrants on Monday and seizing several computers and laptops, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) says they arrested the two men. One of them, a 21-year-old living in Ottawa’s Gloucester neighborhood, was an employee of the Vaccine Contact Center, part of the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, police said in a press release.
The other was a 22-year-old man from Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que.
Both have been charged with unauthorized use of a computer. They were released from custody and are scheduled to appear in court at a later date.
OPP said they are still investigating how the two people know each other.
Spam texts related to the provincial booking system
Police say the provincial government received reports of spam text messages from several people who had planned their vaccine appointments or gained access to their vaccine certificates through the provincial booking system.
These “fraudulent spam” texts asked people for their personal information, PPP spokesman Bill Dickson said.
At a news conference Monday, Attorney General Sylvia Jones said the province is “carefully” investigating any “potential” violations, and as far as she knows, no one has been cheated for money.
“We have confidence in the booking system right now,” she said.
Dickson said the investigation is continuing and he could not confirm if anyone was cheated through the breach.
He warned people to be suspicious of text messages or emails asking for financial or private information, and to warn the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center.