British Columbia’s public auto insurer has issued a warning about scammers trying to cash in on the province’s recently announced gasoline rebate.
On Friday, the province announced drivers would get a $110 rebate through ICBC to help cover the surging cost of fuel.
That plan apparently caught the attention of scam artists, who have begun sending bogus text messages about the rebates urging them to click a likely malicious link.
“ICBC will not issue any rebates to customers via text message or email,” the insurer said in a public bulletin.
“If you receive a text message asking you to click a link to receive your relief rebate, please delete the message – this is a scam.”
One such message forwarded to Global News appeared to be coming from a phone number with a B.C. area code and presenting itself as an “ICBC alert.”
“We have officially announced a gas relief rebate for all BC drivers, so here is your rebate of $110.00 CAD,” the states the fraudulent text, before urging the recipient to click a suspicious link.
ICBC stressed that vehicle owners will not need to take any actions to receive their rebate, which will be processed automatically.
ICBC gas rebate panned by economists
People who have signed up for direct deposit with the insurer will receive the money directly to their bank account, while customers who paid via credit card will have a credit applied to that card between May and June.
People who used other forms of payment will get a cheque in the mail starting in June.
The fraudulent texts are likely what is known as a “phishing” scam, in which a malicious actor often poses as an official agency, and targets their victim through text, social media or email. The scammer then persuades them to divulge personal information or download an attachment with malicious software.
The Better Business Bureau warns anyone who is suspicious of a potential phishing message never to click associated links and to call the company or agency the potential scammer is presenting themselves as directly.
The BBB also says people should be suspicious of generic texts or emails from official-looking sources that contain no specific details in them, such as a person’s name, account number or other identifying information.
Text message scam making the rounds
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
gas prices reach new high | CTV News – CTV News Toronto
Gas prices have reached yet another new record after rising six cents per litre overnight.
As of midnight the average price of a litre of fuel across the Greater Toronto Area is now 208.9 cents per litre, according to Canadians for Affordable Energy President Dan McTeague.
The latest jump means that gas prices have now risen 11 cents per litre since Friday, with no real relief in sight due to supply shortages brought about by Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine and the international sanctions that have been imposed a result.
“When you look at the fundamentals, supply and demand for diesel and for gasoline going into the summer driving season, not only is it low or critically low and that is one of the main reasons why prices are going up but the second factor is the Canadian dollar,” McTeague told CP24 last week. “It continues to show weakness despite the fact that in the old good old days when oil was $100 a barrel we would be on par with the U.S. dollar. The fact that we’re not is costing you 33 cents a litre.”
Gas prices have risen by about 60 per cent since last May, when drivers were paying around $1.30 per litre to fill up.
Musk says Twitter legal team told him he violated an NDA – The Globe and Mail
Elon Musk on Saturday tweeted that Twitter Inc.’s legal team accused him of violating a non-disclosure agreement by revealing that the sample size for the social media platform’s checks on automated users was 100.
“Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!” tweeted Mr. Musk, chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc.
Mr. Musk on Friday tweeted that his US$44-billion cash deal to take the company private was “temporarily on hold” while he awaited data on the proportion of its fake accounts.
Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!
This actually happened.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2022
He said his team would test “a random sample of 100 followers” on Twitter to identify the bots. His response to a question prompted Twitter’s accusation.
When a user asked Mr. Musk to “elaborate on process of filtering bot accounts,” he replied “I picked 100 as the sample size number, because that is what Twitter uses to calculate <5% fake/spam/duplicate.”
Mr. Musk tweeted during the early hours of Sunday that he is yet to see “any” analysis that shows that the social-media company has fake accounts less than 5 per cent.
He later said that, “There is some chance it might be over 90 per cent of daily active users.”
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As interest in electric vehicles soars, experts say they haven't quite hit the mainstream – CBC.ca
When a friend told Seymore Applebaum about the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, he was intrigued.
Applebaum, who lives north of Toronto, was in the market for a new car. While safety features were top of mind, the high cost of gasoline couldn’t be ignored.
So in January, he traded in his sedan for a brand-new plug-in hybrid (PHEV), a vehicle that can run on both electricity and gasoline. Applebaum says he can travel almost 50 kilometres on battery power alone — more than enough to get around the city.
On a recent trip downtown, he recalled, “I drove about 45 kilometres … and the only thing I used was the electric motor and the electric battery that runs the car.”
“Normally, on a day like that, [it] would be comparable to $10, $15 of driving cost.”
Automotive industry analysts say rising gas prices have more consumers looking into electrified and electric vehicles (EVs).
Prices at the pump have soared across Canada in recent weeks. Estimates suggest Vancouver could see the country’s highest prices this weekend, potentially hitting $2.34 per litre for regular fuel. According to fuel price tracker GasBuddy, the national average as of Sunday afternoon was just below $1.98 per litre.
“Canadians are motivated by high fuel prices, but they truly believe this is the new normal,” said Peter Hatges, national automotive sector leader for KPMG in Canada, pointing a recent survey by the consulting group.
“When consumers believe it or perceive it to be true, they’re going to modify their behaviour around what kind of vehicles they buy.”
Kevin Roberts, director of industry insights and analytics for U.S.-based online vehicle marketplace CarGurus, told Cross Country Checkup he has seen a similar trend.
“As gas prices went up, interest in electric vehicles went up almost in lockstep with just a couple of days delay for both new and used vehicles,” he said.
But even as interest in electrified cars spikes, experts say too few options — and too high prices — mean they haven’t quite hit the mainstream.
Where consumers in North America favour larger vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks known for their utility, EVs tend to come in compact or sedan-style models. EV range — and the availability of chargers — are also considerations for many Canadians, said Hatges.
Ramp up production
Big investments into electrification by major automotive makers, however, are beginning to bear fruit.
A greater variety of models and sizes are coming onto the market in the coming years, the analysts say. Battery life is improving too, with several models able to travel more than 400 kilometres on a charge, according to manufacturer estimates.
“It’s absolutely a tipping point,” said Hatges. “I think there’s a confluence of factors that are pointing toward an alternative to the internal combustion engine.”
The big test for consumers will be whether manufacturers can cut prices enough to get customers in the showroom — and EVs on the road — said Grieg Mordue, associate professor and ArcelorMittal chair in advanced manufacturing policy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.
While a handful of models start below $50,000, many run far north of that figure with some selling for over $100,000.
The sweet spot for Canadian buyers? Between $35,000 and $45,000, says Mordue. Key to hitting that price point is mass production, he added.
“We need production in North America of vehicles at that level, and we need high-volume vehicles — not little, niche vehicles where they sell 10,000 or 15,000 of them a year — because that’s a lot of the vehicles that we have now, Tesla notwithstanding,” Mordue told Checkup.
In April, GM announced a $2-billion investment, with support from the Ontario and federal governments, which will see electric vehicles rolling off assembly lines in Oshawa and Ingersoll, Ont., as early as this year.
Stellantis, which owns brands including Dodge and Jeep, is similarly investing billions into electrification at its Windsor and Brampton, Ont., plants.
Mordue cautions, however, that as plants begin producing electric models, it will take time for them to reach the existing output of gas-powered vehicles.
Focus on fuel efficiency
While interest in EVs may be gearing up, Hatges predicts a shift for gas-powered vehicles too.
“I think you’ll see a strive to make cars lighter, more fuel efficient, even when it comes to electricity,” he said. “Heavy vehicles use more power to power themselves down the road, whether it’s electricity or fuel.”
And as long as gas prices stay high, the market could see a shift from SUVs and trucks — which consumers and manufacturers have favoured in recent years — to gas-sipping models.
“We have a fascination with pickup trucks and SUVs, North Americans do, and there’s a lot of them on the road now…. I don’t see that changing any time soon,” he said.
“But in the medium term or in the immediate term, will you see a shift or reconsideration of cars that are more fuel efficient? I think so. The price in the pump is very, very significant.”
Applebaum touted the flexibility of a plug-in hybrid, saying he doesn’t worry about range at all. And though his PHEV cost more than a comparable non-electrified model, trading in his previous vehicle combined with the fuel savings over three to four years made it affordable, he said.
With gas prices now higher than they were in January, “that’s even more true,” he told Checkup.
Now, he says friends are taking notice.
“They’re saying the next car they purchase will be an electric car.”
Written by Jason Vermes with files from Abby Plener.
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