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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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35 new COVID-19 cases announced in Manitoba Sunday – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
Provincial health officials have identified 35 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, made the announcement on Sunday afternoon.

This brings the province’s total number of lab-confirmed and probable positive cases to 542 since early March.

The current test positivity rate is 1.45 per cent.

The cases are from the following regions:

  • 20 new cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region;
  • 10 new cases in the Southern Health – Santé Sud health region;
  • four new cases in the Winnipeg health region; and
  • one new case in the Interlake-Eastern heath region.

Roussin said seven of the new cases are related to a business in Brandon and most of the cases are related to known clusters. 

“The cases are currently self-isolating and contact tracing is underway,” said Roussin. “At this time there continues to be no evidence of workplace transmission, however, the case investigations are continuing.”

He also noted that some cases are from an unknown source in that area.

“While many of today’s cases appear to be linked to known clusters in Southern Health Region and Western Manitoba, notably Brandon, or are close contacts of previously known cases, preliminary information suggests that there may be a small number of cases with unknown acquisition in these areas and this is what we term as community-based transmission,” Roussin said. 

Six people are in hospital right now due to the virus, three of them in intensive care.

The province has 182 active cases and 352 people have recovered from the virus.

The number of deaths in the province related to COVID-19 remains at eight.

On Saturday, 756 laboratory tests were performed, bringing the total to 100,830 since early February.

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Barrick Gold reports 14% rise in dividend amid soaring gold prices, on track to achieve 2020 production guidance – Kitco NEWS

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(Kitco News) Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE:GOLD, TSX:GOLD.TO) said on Monday that it increased its Q2 dividend to shareholders by 14% to 8 cents per share, citing robust performance and strong balance sheets amid record-high gold prices. 

The company also noted that its dividend more than doubled since the Barrick-Randgold merger announcement in September 2018. 

“The Board believes that the dividend increase is sustainable and is reflective of the ongoing robust performance of our operations and continued improvement in the strength of our balance sheet, with total liquidity of $6.7 billion, including a cash balance of $3.7 billion as of the end of the second quarter, and no material debt repayments due before 2033,” said Senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer Graham Shuttleworth.

On top of that, Q2 earnings revealed that Barrick is currently on track to achieve its annual production guidance despite the COVID-19 impact. 

Q2 numbers showed year-to-date gold production of 2.4 million ounces, which is right around the mid-point of its 4.6 million to 5 million ounce 2020 guidance, the company said in a press release. That target was lowered back in May, when the company cited a conflict with the Papua New Guinea’s government over the Porgera mine.

The production activity is being largely driven by the Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) in the U.S., Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali, and Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

“The operating cash flow exceeded $1 billion for the quarter and free cash flow was $522 million. Net earnings per share was 20 cents. Adjusted net earnings per share was 23 cents, up 44% from Q1 and well ahead of the market consensus, [and] debt net of cash was reduced by almost 25% to $1.4 billion from the end of Q1,” the company said.  

Barrick Gold’s president and chief executive Mark Bristow highlighted strong cash generation, higher gold prices, management’s success, and the company’s skillful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our flattened and decentralized management structure was a major factor in contending with Covid-19 while at the same time continuing to meet short-term targets and making significant progress towards our strategic objectives. Our major projects, including the expansion of Pueblo Viejo, the Goldrush development and the Turquoise Ridge shaft, remain on track. The only exception was Veladero, where the heap leach and cross-border Chilean power line projects were impacted by the Argentine government’s pandemic quarantine restrictions,” Bristow said.

The all-in sustaining costs were up 8.1% to $1,031 an ounce in Q2 from the previous quarter.

Spot gold is up more than 30% since the start of the year as prices breached $2,000 an ounce level and kept hitting new all-time highs last week before retreating on some healthy profit-taking on Friday. 

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Barrick boosts dividend by 14% with windfall from gold's rally – BNN

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Barrick Gold Corp. is returning some of the windfall it’s getting from gold’s record rally to its shareholders.

The world’s second-largest gold miner increased its quarterly cash dividend 14 per cent to 8 cents per share, the company said in its second-quarter earnings statement Monday. That’s up from the previous dividend of 7 cents per share.

“The board believes that the dividend increase is sustainable and reflects the ongoing robust performance of our operations and continued improvement in the strength of our balance sheet,” the company said.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said the strong cash generation demonstrated the quality of Barrick’s assets and management’s ability to capture the full benefit of higher gold prices.

Key Insights

  • All-in sustaining costs increased 8.1 per cent to US$1,031 an ounce in the second quarter from the previous three months amid precautions for the coronavirus.
    • Barrick said last month those costs likely increased seven per cent to nine per cent in the second quarter, compared with the previous three months.
  • Spurred by pandemic-induced economic concerns, gold prices have skyrocketed this year, providing a tailwind for producers of the metal.
    • A Bloomberg Intelligence index of senior gold miners has gained over 50 per cent in 2020.
  • Spot gold prices were up more than 30 per cent on average in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, and last month they shot past the all-time record set in September 2011.
  • Barrick is on track to meet its guidance for 2020 production estimated at a range of 4.6 million to 5 million ounces
    • That target was lowered in May in part because of a conflict with the government of Papua New Guinea over its Porgera mine.

Market Reaction

  • Barrick rose 1.7 per cent at 6:20 a.m. in New York before the start of regular trading. The shares climbed 55 per cent this year through Friday’s close.

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  • Adjusted earnings came in at 23 cents a share versus the average analyst estimate of 18 cents

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