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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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Quick Compare: 2020 Tesla Model 3 Vs Model Y After $3,000 Price Cut – Forbes

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Here’s a very short, very basic comparison of the Model Y and Model 3 for newbie electric car buyers just getting their feet wet:

*Pricier Model 3 configs offer up to 322 miles of range

**The Model 3 with rear seats folded has “almost comparable cargo capacity [to the Model y], not as bad as those numbers from the owner’s manuals suggest,” according to Motor Trend.

Type:

—Model Y: CUV (crossover utility vehicle)

—Model 3: sedan

Production start date:

—Model Y: January 2020

—Model 3: mid-2017

Price:

2020 Tesla Model Y Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Long Range: base price: $49,990* (cheapest version currently available / price as shown on Tesla’s website)

2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus base price: $37,990 (cheapest model)

Cheaper Model Y version:

The cheapest Model Y now available isn’t cheap. A cheaper version of the Model Y will eventually be offered, according to Tesla.

American made:

Both the Model 3 and Model Y are made in America in Fremont, Calif.

How similar?

The Model Y is based on the Model 3 and shares 75% of the parts, according to Tesla. And to the untrained eye, they can be hard to distinguish.

How different?

But there are some big differences like cargo space and ground clearance — the Model Y has more of both. And you sit higher in the Model Y because the Y’s seats are on risers, which makes it easier to get in and get out of the car compared to the Model 3.

The Model Y also uses a more efficient heat pump versus the resistive heating system in the Model 3.

And the Model Y is taller, wider, and longer than the Model 3. It’s only a matter of inches (e.g., the Y is about 7 inches taller) but it can make a difference for things like headroom.

How popular?

The Model 3 was the best-selling car in California — the hottest electric car market in the U.S. — in the first quarter of 2020, beating both the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry, according to the California New Car Dealers Association. Since the Model Y is just beginning to ramp up production, the jury is still out but CEO Elon Musk has said that he expects it to outsell the Model 3.

Seating capacity:

5 passengers for both the Model 3 and Model Y, though the Y has an option for seven passengers (see “options” below).

Ground clearance (think: light off-roading):

—Model Y: 6.6 inches

—Model 3: 5.5 inches

Basic warranty:

4 years / 50,000 miles for both the Model 3 and Model Y.

Major options:

—Model Y will offer a third row of seats, allowing it to seat seven passengers ($3,000 option)

—The Model 3 Performance offers 0-60 in 3.2 seconds for thousands of dollars less than the Model Y Performance (which is a plodding 3.5 seconds by comparison).

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300 more sailings, BC Ferries loosens restrictions – Times Colonist

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B.C. Ferries is loosening some restrictions and increasing capacity as summer travel within the province grows.

Passenger numbers have risen to about 70 per cent of what they were at this time last year, said Tessa Humphries, communications manager for B.C. Ferries. In the early days of the pandemic, they were about 20 per cent of normal.

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Passenger capacity had been capped at 50 per cent, but that restriction is being phased out to increase service, Humphries said.

That level was set by Transport Canada, which gave operators a choice between limiting capacity and implementing enhanced cleaning and physical- distancing measures.

Humphries said B.C. Ferries implemented both measures at first but has now decided to phase out the capacity limit. B.C. Ferries consulted with Transport Canada on the change, she said.

Enhanced physical-distancing and cleaning protocols, including clear plastic barriers and face- coverings, remain in place. Passengers are asked whether they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms prior to travel, and those in vehicles are allowed to remain inside their cars.

More than 300 sailings per month have been added on major routes between the Island and the Lower Mainland since the start of June. The company is aiming to keep capacity about 20 per cent above demand, Humphries said.

“We will have fewer sailings than in summer schedules of the past, but significantly more than what was available as a result of the service cuts in April,” she said.

The company has also added an additional vessel on the route between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay on Fridays and Sundays, and a second vessel on the route that services the southern Gulf Islands on Thursdays through Mondays.

“We did also hear from the communities that there was a struggle for capacity there,” Humphries said, adding that it wasn’t uncommon for sailings on Gulf Islands route to be completely booked.

Passengers travelling by car are encouraged to book in advance or choose less busy times to travel.

Humphries said B.C. Ferries expects it will take a couple of years before passenger numbers return to pre-pandemic levels.

Onboard food services have resumed on some minor routes, including between Swartz Bay and the Gulf Islands, and the Passages gift shop reopened Friday on sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen. Packaged food and limited hot food resumed on three major routes between the Island and the Lower Mainland in June.

The Lands End Café in the Swartz Bay terminal also recently reopened. Markets in the Departure Bay and Tsawwassen terminals reopened in late June.

The drop in ferry traffic has cost B.C. Ferries millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Humphries said the company is evaluating the financial situation daily and reopening onboard amenities will provide another revenue stream.

“But we’re all doing all of that carefully and gradually, as well as safely reintroducing these services,” she said.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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Canada halts Ukraine puppy imports; New rules against vaping ads: CBC's Marketplace Cheat Sheet – CBC.ca

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Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.

Canada puts temporary halt on puppies from Ukraine

Canadian officials are temporarily halting the importation of puppies from Ukraine after more than 500 dogs were found crammed on a plane last month, and dozens died. But animal welfare advocates say the change isn’t expected to put an end to the international puppy trade targeting Canadians.

Marketplace‘s David Common reports. 

Canadian officials are temporarily halting the importation of puppies from Ukraine after hundreds of dogs were found crammed on a plane last month and dozens died. But the change isn’t expected to put an end to the international puppy trade targeting Canadians. 1:47

Health Canada ban on vaping ads to take effect in August

In the wake of mounting research suggesting that vaping use is on the rise among teenagers, Health Canada is prohibiting advertisements for vapes in areas where youth may be exposed to them. The ban applies to all retail locations and online stores that sell e-cigarettes, except for adult-only establishments. Read more about the changes.

E-cigarette advertising hangs above candy at a convenience store in Toronto in August 2019. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Fashion retailers scrambling during the pandemic. Here’s what they’re doing to survive

It’s no secret that malls and department stores have been struggling over the last few months, but some businesses may be more poised to weather the storm than others. Larry Rosen, the CEO of Harry Rosen, says his company is surviving by taking advantage of federal support programs and shoring up its liquidity, but that competitors who came into the crisis with a lot of debt are already at risk. Read more about how companies are trying to fight back.

Total retail apparel sales will decrease 28 to 32 per cent in 2020, while luxury apparel sales should drop 16.8 per cent, says Trendex, a marketing intelligence company specializing in the Canadian and Mexican apparel markets. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The pandemic isn’t over. But for Maple Leaf Foods workers, the extra pay is

Maple Leaf Foods is no longer paying employees an extra $2 an hour for working during COVID-19.

That’s drawing criticism from employees at the company’s plant in Hamilton who say if the risk of working hasn’t subsided, neither should the pay.

“At the start, they gave us T-shirts that said ‘Not all heroes wear capes’ and we really loved those shirts. When we got them we felt, ‘OK, they really appreciate us,'” says Chris Bernard, the chief union steward at the plant. 

“Now it just doesn’t feel like we’re heroes anymore. They’re saying we’re not worth [an extra] $2 an hour.” Read more about the Maple Leaf Foods workers speaking out.

Maple Leaf Foods ended its pandemic pay bonus this month. (CBC)

What else is going on?

Uber is getting into the grocery delivery business in Canada
The program will be piloted in Toronto and Montreal.

DavidsTea to ‘significantly reduce’ number of stores and shift to online selling
The company is restructuring under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, which covers insolvent companies.

Riveted Mesh Floor Lamp recalled due to risk of fire hazard
Certain models of this lamp, sold at Restoration Hardware may overheat, posing a fire risk.

Daiya brand Classic Vanilla Creme Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert recalled due to undeclared milk
People with an allergy or aversion to milk should not consume the product.

Marketplace needs your help 

Many of us are looking to get our driveways freshly paved this summer, but not all contractors are created equal. Have you ever had a negative experience with a paving contractor? Or have they taken your money without finishing the job? Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca

Has your computer conked out? Is your phone on the fritz? We want to hear from you! Technology is keeping us connected like never before, but what happens when these devices break? What did you do? Tell us about your broken tablets, computers and phones by emailing caitlin.taylor@cbc.ca

Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace any time on CBC Gem.

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