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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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Irving to buy North Atlantic Refining including refinery in Come By Chance, NL – BNNBloomberg.ca

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SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Irving Oil has signed a deal to buy North Atlantic Refining Corp., including a refinery in Come By Chance, N.L., from U.S. investment firm Silverpeak.

Financial terms of the agreement, which includes a network of gas stations and other marketing assets, were not disclosed.

North Atlantic provides fuel products to businesses and consumers across Newfoundland.

The refinery has capacity of 130,000 barrels per day.

Production at the refinery was stopped on March 30 due to the pandemic.

The sale is subject to regulatory review and other conditions.

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Number of Americans on jobless benefits inches down for 1st time since pandemic began – CBC.ca

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The number of Americans continuing to receive government jobless benefits declined in the week ending May 16 for the first time since COVID-19 struck, even as millions of people continue to join the unemployment rolls.

The U.S. Department of Labour said 21.052 million people continued to receive benefits that week. That’s down from the record 24.912 million seen the previous week.

“The number of Americans who remain on UI is still uncomfortably high,” Bank of Montreal economist Jennifer Lee said, “but it is not at a record anymore and that is a start.”

The initial claims figure — which represents the number of people filling out applications for jobless benefits for the first time — held above two million last week for a 10th straight week amid second-wave layoffs in the private sector, such as the 12,000 announced this week by plane manufacturer Boeing.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits totalled a seasonally adjusted 2.123 million for the week ended May 23, from a revised 2.446 million in the prior week. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast initial claims falling to 2.1 million in the latest week from the previously reported 2.438 million.

Though claims have declined steadily since hitting a record 6.867 million in late March, they have not registered below two million since mid-March. The astonishingly high level of claims has persisted even as non-essential businesses are starting to reopen after shuttering in mid-March to control the spread of COVID-19, an indication it could take a while for the economy to dig out of the coronavirus-induced slump.

“I am concerned that we are seeing a second round of private sector layoffs that, coupled with a rising number of public sector cutbacks, is driving up the number of people unemployed,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economics in Holland, Pennsylvania.

“If that is the case, given the pace of reopening, we could be in for an extended period of extraordinary high unemployment. And that means the recovery will be slower and will take a lot longer.”

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Profit falls at TD and CIBC as loan loss provisions soar – CBC.ca

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and TD Bank Group missed quarterly earnings expectations on Thursday, as they set aside billions to cover future loan losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The massive jump in provisions took the total amount set aside by Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal , Bank of Nova Scotia, National Bank of Canada , CIBC and TD Bank to $10.93 billion.

The money set aside for credit losses on both performing and impaired loans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued pressure on oil prices has added to pressure on Canada’s biggest lenders from decade-low interest rates.

Canadian banks have grown their oil and gas loan books faster than total lending in recent quarters, and their business loan books overall expanded during the second quarter as borrowers unable to access debt markets drew down credit lines.

CIBC posted an adjusted profit of 94 Canadian cents per share for the quarter ended April, compared with analysts’ expectations of $1.58 per share.

TD Bank, Canada’s second-biggest lender, reported an adjusted profit of 85 Canadian cents per share, missing estimates of 89 Canadian cents.

Net income was $1.5 billion at TD, down 52 per cent from last year. Net income was $392 million at CIBC, down 70 per cent from last year.

CIBC also reported lower net income across divisions and higher expenses. Controlling costs is particularly vital for CIBC, which has already said it expects expenses to grow this year at about double the rate of its rivals.

It flagged layoffs earlier this year to aid its efforts to cut costs and become more efficient.

CIBC set aside $1.41 billion in the quarter for future loan losses, compared with $255 million a year earlier, while total provisions for TD Bank jumped to $3.22 billion, compared with $633 million a year earlier.

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