After being absent for at least three years, a once-popular scam has made it back on a notorious list.
“Travel, vacation and timeshare scams are now the riskiest scams in Canada,” the BBB’s vice-president of marketing and communications Camie Leard said.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
Manitoba reports 17 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, 10 cases now identified at Brandon pork plant – Global News
Manitoba health officials reported 17 new cases of novel coronavirus Friday as Maple Leaf confirmed 10 employees at their Brandon pork processing plant have tested positive for the virus.
At a 1 p.m. press conference Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer confirmed reporting from the union representing workers at the plant that said four more employees had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday morning.
But Maple Leaf’s president and CEO Michael McCain said another two workers had tested positive in a statement posted to the company’s website around 3 p.m., bringing the total number of workers at the plant who have tested positive since the weekend to 10.
McCain said there is no indication the illness is spreading inside the facility, echoing what Roussin had said earlier in the day.
“Not a single case acquired it there from our investigation,” Roussin said at a Friday press conference.
Self-isolation dos and don’ts
The cases at Maple Leaf are linked to a cluster of 34 cases in Brandon, Roussin said, and appear to be connected to a person who travelled from Eastern Canada.
Roussin added that there is indication of community spread in Brandon.
The 17 new cases reported province-wide Friday bring Manitoba’s total number of lab-confirmed and probable cases reported since March to 491 and include 10 from the Prairie Mountain Health region, five in Winnipeg, and two people in southern Manitoba.
Roussin said as of Friday nine people are in hospital with COVID-19, including three in intensive care.
He said there are currently 132 active known cases in Manitoba and 351 people have recovered from the virus.
The number of Manitobans who have died from COVID-19 since March remains at eight.
Union calls for closure of Maple Leaf plant
Jeff Traeger, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832, said he expects more Maple Leaf employees will test positive.
“We are renewing our call on Maple Leaf to halt production in the Brandon plant until this situation is under control,” Traeger said in a memo Friday morning.
The union, which represents nearly 2,000 workers at the plant, said many employees have asked if they can refuse to go to work. The union said it is complicated, since the province has deemed their work essential and the facility safe.
“If you notice that protocols are not being followed properly, then you need to let your union know immediately,” the memo said.
Maple Leaf had earlier said the cases at the plant are not linked to workplace spread.
Public health and workplace safety authorities inspected the plant Thursday, and the company said the results support its decision to continue operations.
Roussin said the industry has learned from serious outbreaks at meat-processing plants in southern Alberta this spring.
Premier Brian Pallister said the province would only step in if recommended by health experts. He noted that the rise in cases shows people need to remain vigilant.
“Safety is the key to this recovery,” the premier said. “There is nothing more important than that.”
The cases at the meat plant come as the Tim Hortons restaurant at 1845 Middleton Ave. in Brandon was forced to close after the company said an employee there has also tested positive for COVID-19.
At the Friday briefing Roussin warned of a potential exposure at the Tim Hortons that may have occurred Aug. 1. He said the while the risk of transmission is low at the restaurant, located along the Trans-Canada Highway at 18th Street, customers should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days and seek testing should symptoms develop.
A spokesperson from Tim Hortons tells Global News employees who worked closely with the employee who has tested positive are self-isolating for 14 days and the restaurant will remain closed until it can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and a separate crew of workers can be brought in.
While Manitoba has yet to mandate mask wearing to stem the spread of COVID-19, on Friday Roussin said wearing a mask is advisable when physical distancing isn’t possible, especially in Brandon right now.
When asked about masks Friday morning, Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest said the city is following the guidance of public health officials.
Chrest while people in Brandon are concerned said he’s been impressed by the work health authorities and affected businesses have done to try and control the outbreak.
“All of the companies that have been identified are doing a superb job of following the health protocols, locking down situations.. outright closing their store in the case of Tim Hortons to make sure that there isn’t any further spread,” he told 680 CJOB Friday morning.
Coronavirus: Manitoba reports 30 new cases, potential exposure on Air Canada flight
“We know that the virus is still in our province and still in our community and it seems that every health region has sadly taken its turn in this thing with a bit of an outbreak and right now we’re having one to deal with.”
The province says 1,452 lab tests for COVID-19 were done Thursday, bringing the total number of tests completed in Manitoba since early February to 96,999.
The new cases reported Friday bring the province’s test positivity rate to 1.10 per cent.
–With files from The Canadian Press
Coronavirus: After long-weekend spike, Manitoba announces 2 additional COVID-19 cases
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Province announces 17 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Friday – CTV News Winnipeg
Provincial health officials have announced 17 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, made the announcement on Friday afternoon.
Roussin said this brings the province’s total number of lab-confirmed and probable positive cases to 491 since early March.
Of the new cases, 10 are from the Prairie Mountain Health Region, five are in the Winnipeg Health Region, and two are from the Southern Health Region.
Roussin said the current test positivity rate is 1.10 per cent.
There are currently nine people in hospital, including three in intensive.
The province has 132 active cases and 351 people have recovered from the virus.
The number of deaths in the province related to COVID-19 remains at eight.
On Thursday, 1,452 tests were performed, bringing the total to 96,999 since early February.
Roussin also mentioned there was potential exposure to COVID-19 at the Tim Hortons in Brandon along the Trans Canada Highway on Aug. 1.
Tim Hortons confirmed with CTV News on Thursday that an employee tested posted for the virus.
Roussin is advising that people who went to the restaurant on that day should self-monitor and if symptoms develop they should be tested.
Health officials are also noting that the drive-thru testing site in Steinbach will now be open on Saturdays for the rest of the month from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment only. People are told to call 204-346-7016 to book an appointment.
This is a developing story. More details to come.
Brandon Walmart employee tests positive for COVID-19 – CTV News Winnipeg
Walmart Canada has confirmed that an employee working at the Brandon Walmart recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Walmart confirming the employee last worked at the store on July 26.
“We are in contact with the associate and are keeping them in our thoughts. Everyone at Walmart wishes them a speedy recovery,” a spokesperson said in an email to CTV News.
The spokesperson said there is regular enhanced cleaning in the store and other physical distancing measures are in place. Walmart is also in contact with public health.
They added other measures are in place, like wellness checks that include temperature checks for all employees at the start of their shift, limiting the number of customers, and cleaning shopping carts.
This case comes as a Tim Hortons in Brandon along the Trans-Canada Highway closed down on Thursday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Health officials did announce that there is currently a cluster of cases in the Brandon area.
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