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BBB releases list of Top 10 riskiest scams in Canada in 2019

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After being absent for at least three years, a once-popular scam has made it back on a notorious list.

The Better Business Bureau released its Top 10 Riskiest Scams of 2019, and topping that list: the travel, vacation and timeshare scam.

“Travel, vacation and timeshare scams are now the riskiest scams in Canada,” the BBB’s vice-president of marketing and communications Camie Leard said.

 

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The private, nonprofit organization said people were at risk of losing up to $5,000 to scammers — about 16 times higher than the overall median dollar loss in 2019.

The BBB said several consumers reported bogus businesses deceiving people into paying exorbitant closing fees on fraudulent timeshare resales, while others reported unrealistically cheap deals.

The BBB advised travellers should only use reputable and dependable travel agencies and that timeshare sellers should thoroughly research potential brokers.

Pridis, Ala., resident Candice Hunter said she did that and still got scammed.

Hunter said she was called — out of the blue — by a company offering to buy her timeshare in Cabo, Mexico. After researching the company thoroughly, she agreed to a purchase price. She said she was then contacted by a lawyer, who told her to contact the timeshare operator. She was provided a number and was told she would have to pay a percentage of the sale price.

“I thought I was calling my timeshare company to give them the 10 per cent,” Hunter added. “They did a quick switch on me.”

Instead of calling her timeshare company, Hunter said she was unknowingly connected to another scammer. She regrets not looking up the number independently and added it was a costly mistake.

“$11,000 Canadian,” she said. “I was a single mom for 17 years and I had to put my kids through school. And I saved that money and that’s hard.”

 

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Leard said scammers are always on the lookout for certain people to victimize.

“The main message with scammers is they’re always looking at human foibles,” she said. “They’re always looking for a way in.”

“I think the story is when times are tough people are more vulnerable to scams. They’re looking for often quick fixes quick cash and income.”

 

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Calgary police Sgt. Matt Frederickson agreed, adding once that money is gone — victims won’t see it again.

“For the most part the money is gone,” he said. “We’re not able to get the money back on most cases, unfortunately, because the fraudsters are able to distribute it.”

 

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Frederickson said there were almost 5,000 scams reported to Calgary police last year, resulting in about $50 million in losses.

He also suggested people research any company thoroughly, and not jump at an offer without first thinking it over and talking it over with others.

Other scams on the BBB top 10 list

Other scams joined the travel, vacation and timeshare scam on the BBB’s list, including:

  • Advanced fee loan scam
  • Romance scam
  • Cryptocurrency scam
  • Employment scam
  • Online purchase scam
  • Home improvement scam
  • Tech support scam
  • Credit card scam

The BBB added while Canadians still lost money to tax scams, the number of reports and losses in 2019 had decreased.

Who is at risk?

The BBB said in 2019, women were slightly more likely to lose money to scammers, but men lost significantly more money — $600 versus $200. When it comes to age, younger individuals were more likely to lose money to scammers than older people, but people 65+ reported higher monetary losses.

 

This year’s report is based on data supplied by consumers to BBB Scam Tracker and used the BBB Risk Index, a unique algorithm that calculates exposure, susceptibility and monetary loss.

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OPEC+ sticks with current oil production plan, despite Omicron – Aljazeera.com

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OPEC+ is sticking with its current plan to adjust crude output by an additional 400,000 barrels a day in January.

OPEC+ is sticking with its plan to keep slowing raising oil output, despite the threat the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus could pose to global crude demand.

OPEC+ – a grouping of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, and its allies led by Russia – made the decision at the conclusion of its meeting on Thursday to stick with its current plan to adjust crude output by an additional 400,000 barrels a day in January.

The group has been incrementally opening its taps since August as it continues to unwind the deep production cuts it agreed to back in 2020, when oil prices crashed in the opening months of the pandemic.

Thursday’s decision to hold the line on its current output plan comes at a time of heightened concerns in global oil markets.

Benchmark oil prices have fallen more than $12 since the World Health Organization declared Omicron a “variant of concern” last week, triggering fresh travel restrictions – which could dent crude demand – as well as fuelling concerns over how effective current COVID-19 vaccines may be against the new strain.

Oil prices kept slipping following the news of Thursday’s OPEC+ decision. At 10:26am ET (15:26 GMT) in New York trading, global benchmark Brent crude was down 60 cents to $68.27 a barrel, while United States benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 66 cents at $64.91 cents a barrel, according to Bloomberg data.

Last Thursday, Brent crude was trading upward of $82 a barrel, while WTI was north of $77 a barrel.

Global oil markets have been whipsawed in recent weeks. An energy crunch that swept the globe in October saw prices rise sharply, prompting calls from US President Joe Biden for OPEC and its allies to boost output and help cool the market.

OPEC+ resisted those calls, leading the US and other nations to tap their strategic oil reserves to help alleviate global price pressures.

But the unpredictable path of the pandemic has flexed its muscle over global energy markets once again with the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“The Omicron variant has sobered up markets during the last few days, halting the oil demand recovery enthusiasm and sending traders scrambling to limit risk in their portfolios,” analysts at Rystad Energy wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

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Oil Prices Bounce Back Despite The OPEC Decision – OilPrice.com

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Oil Prices Bounce Back Despite The OPEC+ Decision | OilPrice.com


Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Oil prices rose on Thursday after OPEC+ decided to keep its oil production policy unchanged and add another 400,000 bpd on the market in January.

As of 10:14 a.m. EST, post OPEC+ meet, WTI Crude was up 1.46% at $66.53 and Brent Crude had increased 1.35% at $69.80. Both benchmarks erased the losses of 3% right after first news reports suggested the monthly increase was on for January.

OPEC+ is sticking to its production plan to add 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) to its production in January, OPEC said in a statement on Thursday, noting that the meeting remains in session.  

The group “agree that the meeting shall remain in session pending further developments of the pandemic and continue to monitor the market closely and make immediate adjustments if required,” OPEC said.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of OPEC+ is set for January 4, 2022.

So, the group is now set to add oil on the market in January, although speculation was high in recent days that OPEC+ could opt for a pause in the monthly increases because of the still high uncertainty over the Omicron COVID variant, the SPR releases led by the United States, and the expected worse-than-thought oil surplus early next year.

The leaders of the group, Saudi Arabia and Russia, had already signaled earlier this week that OPEC+ should not jump the gun and freeze the monthly additions to supply because of the Omicron variant, which has spooked the oil market. With still little information on the new variant and whether it escapes vaccine protection, the alliance looks ready to take further action, if necessary, but it is showing it is not over-reacting to Omicron as many analysts said the market has done.

Initial reactions to the rollover of the production policy suggest that OPEC+ could also believe that global demand will remain resilient during the winter season, and sends a message to the market present in almost every press release: stability.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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Months after massive IPO, China's Didi moves to delist from NYSE – MarketWatch

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Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. said late Thursday it plans to delist from the New York Stock Exchange, bowing to pressure from the Chinese government.

“After careful study, the company will start delisting on the New York Stock Exchange immediately, and start preparations for listing in Hong Kong,” Didi said in a post on its Weibo account.

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