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Today's coronavirus news: Toronto reports lowest daily total of new cases since March; Trump entices Fourth of July crowds while infections rise; Florida sets another record for cases – Toronto Star

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KEY FACTS

  • 5:30 p.m.: Toronto reports lowest daily total of new cases since March 26

  • 2:35 p.m.: Florida sets a new record

  • 12:22 p.m.: Raptors’ scrimmages are set

  • 10:28 a.m.: The Toronto Zoo is open, with precautions

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

8:32 p.m.: Mexico topped 30,000 COVID-19 deaths Saturday, overtaking France as the country with the fifth-highest death toll since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Officials reported 523 more confirmed coronavirus deaths for the day, bringing the nation’s total to 30,366 for the pandemic. Mexico’s total confirmed infections rose by almost 6,000 to 251,165, about on par with Spain, the eighth highest caseload.

Also Saturday, about 200 street vendors briefly blocked several major avenues in downtown Mexico City on Saturday to demand they be allowed to sell again amid the coronavirus pandemic.

6:47 p.m.: Officials across the U.S. pleaded with Americans to curb their enthusiasm for large Fourth of July crowds Saturday even as President Donald Trump enticed the masses with a “special evening” of tribute and fireworks staged with new U.S. coronavirus infections on the rise.

People wandered the National Mall in baking heat and took shade under the scattered trees while, not far away, music wafted from a party on the White House South Lawn. To come: the “Salute for America” celebration with Trump’s speech from the White House grounds, a military air show and a more ambitious fireworks display than has been seen in years.

The crowds on the Mall were strikingly thinner than the one gathered for last year’s jammed celebration on the National Mall. Many who showed up wore masks.

At the White House, several hundred invited guests assembled on the sweeping South Lawn, gathering around tables decorated with flowers and small U.S. flags as a military rock band played. Most guests were unmasked.

Trump’s guests were doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers and military members as well as officials from the administration, said Judd Deere, deputy White House press secretary. He said the event was a tribute to the “tremendous courage and spirit” of front-line workers and the public in the pandemic.

5:30 p.m.: As of 5 p.m. Saturday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 37,675 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,733 deaths, up a total of 117 new cases since Friday evening, according to the Star’s latest count.

As has been the case in recent weeks, the vast majority of new cases were reported in a handful of health units. Only Windsor-Essex (35 new cases), Peel Region (25 cases), York Region (21 cases) and Toronto (20 cases) reported increases in the double digits. The 20 cases in Toronto were the fewest in any day since March 26.

Meanwhile, just two more fatal cases were reported — both in Toronto. The daily rate of deaths has also fallen sharply since peaking in early May when the health units reported as many as 94 deaths in a single day.

Earlier Saturday, the province reported 150 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 39 in an intensive care unit, of whom 26 are on a ventilator — numbers that are all near the lowest levels in data that goes back to early April.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,687 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

4:46 p.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:46 p.m.

There are 105,317 confirmed cases in Canada.

Quebec: 55,784 confirmed (including 5,566 deaths, 25,280 resolved)

Ontario: 35,656 confirmed (including 2,687 deaths, 31,083 resolved)

(Note: the Star’s updated count as of 5 p.m. indicates 37,675 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,733 deaths. See above.)

Alberta: 8,259 confirmed (including 155 deaths, 7,532 resolved)

British Columbia: 2,947 confirmed (including 177 deaths, 2,608 resolved)

Nova Scotia: 1,064 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 796 confirmed (including 14 deaths, 711 resolved)

Manitoba: 314 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 302 resolved), 11 presumptive

Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)

New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 162 resolved)

Prince Edward Island: 30 confirmed (including 27 resolved)

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

Nunavut: No confirmed cases, 1 presumptive

Total: 105,317 (12 presumptive, 105,305 confirmed including 8,674 deaths, 68,990 resolved)

4:43 p.m.: Migrant workers and other non-permanent residents — many of whom have been working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic — took to the streets in cities across Canada on Saturday, calling on Ottawa to grant them greater rights and protections.

Temporary foreign farm labourers, care workers, international students and undocumented workers who have been working throughout the pandemic as “essential workers” say they are being left behind by the Canadian government.

“Our people are literally starving. People are dying, not even to grow food, but to grow flowers and grapes for wine. Domestic workers are trapped in homes by employers who won’t let them out because migrants are seen as carriers of disease,” said Syed Hussan, executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. “COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis.”

Demonstrations organized by the Migrant Rights Network were held Saturday in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax in front of offices of members of Parliament, including the office of federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

4:34 p.m.: A First Nation in southern Alberta has implemented a curfew as its health workers monitor more than 200 people for signs they may have developed COVID-19.

Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot said in video messages posted on Facebook that as of Thursday there were 21 known COVID-19-positive cases with links to the community west of Calgary, and that five separate and unrelated case clusters had been uncovered in the previous 12 days.

Crowfoot said that as of Wednesday, 258 Siksika Nation members were under “active investigation and daily followup” by the community’s health services team — a number he said had quadrupled in only three days.

On Friday, councillors approved a temporary curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time, with exceptions that Crowfoot said can be made on an as-needed basis for work or other reasons.

4:11 p.m.: Quebec reported more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in two weeks.

The province’s Health Department says authorities registered 102 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections in the province to 55,784. That’s the most since June 20, when the province reported exactly 100 cases.

The province also added six additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus — three new and three others that occurred before June 26 — for a total of 5,566.

The number of hospitalizations and intensive care cases decreased in numbers released on Saturday. Hospitalizations were down by 17 for a total of 375, while the number of intensive-care patients dropped by four to 27 cases. The province has reported 25,280 recoveries.

2:35 p.m.: Florida reported a record number of coronavirus cases Saturday, the latest sign that the virus is surging in many parts of the United States, casting a pall over Fourth of July celebrations.

Officials and health authorities warned people to take precautions or simply stay home on Independence Day, as confirmed cases are climbing in 40 states. The U.S. set another daily record Friday with 52,300 newly reported infections, according to numbers kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. has more than 2.8 million confirmed cases — about a quarter of worldwide infections, according to the tally.

Florida reported 11,445 confirmed infections Saturday, bringing the statewide total to more than 190,000.

12:58 p.m.: Prince Edward Island is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since late April, including one person who worked at a Charlottetown seniors home.

Dr. Heather Morrison, the province’s chief public health officer, says the three cases include a man in his 50s and two people in their 20s. None of the cases are related to seasonal residents or the opening of the Atlantic bubble this week.

The man in his 50s was an essential worker who had recently travelled outside the province and has self-isolated since returning home.

The other two cases are connected and involve a male in his 20s who travelled to Nova Scotia and came into contact with someone from the United States and is asymptomatic.

The female is connected to that person and is symptomatic, and worked at Whisperwood Villa, a seniors’ residence in Charlottetown where residents will be tested.

She wore protective equipment on the job, did not provide direct care to residents and left as soon as she felt unwell.

12:32 p.m.: Two of California death row’s most notorious inmates apparently died from COVID-19, bringing the number of inmates across the state to die after contracting the coronavirus to at least 24.

The men, convicted child killer Scott Thomas Erskine and Manuel Machado Alvarez, both died on July 3, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

Both men were being treated at outside hospitals after being sickened by coronavirus inside San Quentin State Prison, where the virus has run rampant for nearly two weeks. Nearly 1,400 inmates, one in three housed in the famed Marin County facility, have tested positive for the virus, and the prison accounts for more than half of all infections in the CDCR system, according to its coronavirus dashboard.

In total, 5,280 inmates have been infected with the coronavirus in the state’s prisons since April, with 1,441 new cases since June 19.

12:22 p.m.: The Toronto Raptors will face their first competition in more than four months when they play the Houston Rockets in a scrimmage on July 24.

The NBA released the scrimmage schedule Saturday ahead of the July 30 restart. Each team will play three exhibition games at Disney World in Orlando.

The Raptors will also face Portland on July 26, and Phoenix on July 28.

Toronto opens the eight-game seeding round on Aug. 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The NBA shut down March 11 due to COVID-19. The 22 teams playing in the seeding round are scheduled to arrive in Orlando next week.

12:07 p.m.: The MLS Is Back tournament match between FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps has been postponed after six FC Dallas players tested positive for COVID-19.

The group stage match was scheduled to take place Thursday. MLS officials announced the postponement Saturday and said a new time and date would come later.

FC Dallas confirmed Wednesday that players had tested positive upon their arrival in Florida for the month-long tournament. The entire FC Dallas delegation is quarantining in their rooms at the walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

Vancouver’s team is scheduled to arrive in Orlando on Monday.

FC Dallas will now play its first tournament match July 15 against the Seattle Sounders.

12:01 p.m.: Frances Tiafoe has tested positive for the coronavirus and withdrawn from the All-American Team Cup tennis tournament in Atlanta.

Tiafoe was scheduled to face Tennys Sandgren on Saturday in the weekend tournament involving eight top American men’s players at Life Time Fitness in Peachtree Corners. The event is allowing a limited number of fans and not requiring masks, though will provide them if requested.

Tiafoe defeated Sam Querrey on Friday, but was showing symptoms after the match and a test was positive.

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Tiafoe, a 22-year-old who reached the 2019 Australian Open quarterfinals, left the event site and was replaced by Christopher Eubanks. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and three other pro players had tested positive for the virus after playing in a similar exhibition event in Europe. The pro tennis tours are suspended until August.

Tournament officials said they had begun deep cleaning and sanitizing the event site, along with alerting people who may have been exposed.

10:50 a.m.: (Updated) The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 10:50 a.m.:

There are 105,212 confirmed cases in Canada.

Quebec: 55,784 confirmed (including 5,566 deaths, 25,280 resolved) (UPDATED)

Ontario: 35,656 confirmed (including 2,687 deaths, 31,083 resolved) (NOTE: Ontario is reporting 121 cases Saturday, according to the Health Ministry. The Star will be doing its own updated count for Ontario.)

Alberta: 8,259 confirmed (including 155 deaths, 7,532 resolved)

British Columbia: 2,947 confirmed (including 177 deaths, 2,608 resolved)

Nova Scotia: 1,064 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 796 confirmed (including 14 deaths, 711 resolved)

Manitoba: 314 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 302 resolved), 11 presumptive

Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)

New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 158 resolved)

Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

Nunavut: No confirmed cases, 1 presumptive

Total: 105,212 (12 presumptive, 105,200 confirmed including 8,668 deaths, 68,864 resolved)

10:28 a.m.: The Toronto Zoo has opened its doors again to the public with safety precautions in place for visitors.

Visitors must now book their tickets in advance online within certain time slots due to a reduced capacity. Tickets will not be available on-site and all visitors will be required to wear masks inside closed buildings.

Restaurants inside the zoo are open as well as the gift shop and the African Rainforest Pavilion and Giraffe House. Rides, lockers, drinking fountains, all rental services and manual coin machines remain closed.

The zoo had earlier opened to members.

10:15 a.m.: The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit says it has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Belvedere Heights long-term-care facility in Parry Sound.

In a release, the health unit states, “The two individuals who tested positive are staff at the long-term-care home. The individuals are currently in isolation. No residents at Belvedere Heights have tested positive for COVID-19.”

The North Bay Parry Sound catchment area has experienced some of the lowest COVID-19 positive test rates in the province. In the district, the Belvedere Heights outbreak is the third documented in a retirement or long-term-care facility. The other two outbreaks in the district are considered “resolved.”

In the North Bay Parry Sound district, as of today, the health unit is reporting 14,195 total tests administered, with 33 positives resulting in 29 cases resolved, one death, one in isolation, plus the two most recent positives in Parry Sound.

According to the health ministry, “An outbreak in a long-term-care home is declared with a single, laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member. When only asymptomatic residents and/or staff with positive results are found as part of enhanced surveillance testing of residents and/or staff, it may not be necessary to declare an outbreak. An outbreak may be declared over when there are no new cases in residents or staff after 14 days.”

9:36 a.m.: Courthouses across Ontario are set to resume some in-person hearings Monday, according to the Ministry of the Attorney General, despite unions representing Crowns and court staff saying safety concerns remain unresolved.

“More precautions are required to adequately ensure courthouses are safe,” Paul Cavalluzzo, the lawyer representing the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association, said Friday.

Courthouses have been closed to in-person hearings for more than three months.

Click here for full story.

9:26 a.m.: U.S. media reported that Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., and a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign, has tested positive for coronavirus.

“After testing positive, Kimberly was immediately isolated to limit any exposure,” said Sergio Gor, chief of staff for the Trump Victory Finance Committee, quoted by CNN. Gor said she was asymptomatic and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, tested negative.”

Guilfoyle is a top fundraiser for the campaign.

Guilfoyle tested positive in South Dakota before the president’s Mount Rushmore celebration, CNN reported.

9:21 a.m.: Authorities in northeast Spain ordered the lockdown of El Segria county around the city of Lleida, home to over 200,000 people, after health officials recorded a jump in 60 cases in 24 hours. The outbreaks are linked to agricultural workers in the rural area.

The area is in Catalonia, west of Barcelona.

9:17 a.m.: The pints are being poured and the unkempt hairdos are being cut and styled as England embarked Saturday on its biggest lockdown easing yet.

In addition to the reopening of much of the hospitality sector, including pubs and restaurants, for the first time in more than three months, couples can tie the knot once again and people can go and see a movie at the cinema.

Museums and libraries have also reopened but gyms, swimming pools and nail bars remain shut. Restrictions on travel and social contact have been eased — people from different households can now go into each other’s homes, for example.

“Let’s not blow it now,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said as some in England rushed to restaurants or barbers for the first time in more than three months.

Friday, 6 p.m. Ontario’s regional health units are reporting 37,558 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,731 deaths, up a total of 164 new cases since Thursday evening, according to the Star’s latest count.

As has been the case in recent weeks, the vast majority of new cases were reported in a small handful of health units. Just Toronto (80 new cases), Peel Region (21 cases) and York Region (20 cases) reported increases in the double digits; of the remaining 31 units, just Windsor-Essex saw more than five new infections.

Meanwhile, three more fatal cases were reported Friday, two in Toronto, one in the Southwestern region. The daily rate of deaths has also fallen sharply since peaking in early May when the health units reported as many as 94 deaths in a single day.

Earlier Friday, the province reported 155 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, including 40, who are in an intensive care unit, of whom 25 are on a ventilator. These numbers are all near the lowest levels in data that goes back to early April.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths, 2,682, may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system. In the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases. This means they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

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Fraudsters create fake Canadian company, steal foreign website to victimize job seekers – CBC.ca

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When Ashley lost her position as a French program co-ordinator due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she threw herself into an aggressive search for another job.  

With experience in sales, marketing and co-ordination, the 25-year-old sent her resume out widely and posted it on Indeed, Linked-in and other reputable career sites. 

So when a Vancouver-based technology company called Gux-IT contacted her in June and invited her to apply for a full-time “general assistant” position she would work remotely from her Toronto home, she was excited — but also cautious. 

Although working from home has become the norm, especially over the past several months of the pandemic, Ashley was also conscious that employment scams — where people desperate for work are “hired” into jobs that don’t exist and tricked into using their own money for things — have been on the rise. 

Her first step was to make sure there was a job posted on Gux-IT’s website and thoroughly examine the rest of it.  

“I also always check, too, when I do go on websites, the red flags,” Ashley said. “That means the ‘about us’ page, that means a number, an address, all the different links that are able to be clicked. I did check all of those things.” 

The people she was communicating with used Gux-IT email addresses. In her job interview, she spoke with someone on the phone who appeared to be calling from a B.C. area code. Ashley even looked up the company’s headquarters with Google Street View.

She thought she had checked all the right boxes. But what she didn’t realize was that Gux-IT itself is a fake organization — nothing more than fraudsters hidden behind a duplicated website and an incorporated company that doesn’t belong to them.  

Job scams on the rise

Job scams are on the rise and becoming more sophisticated, said Jeff Thomson, senior RCMP intelligence analyst at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

In 2019, the centre received more than 2,400 job-related fraud reports, he said. The number of reports counted in 2020 is already more than 2,300 — and that’s only up to July.    

With more people losing their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and seeking work, as well as shifting to doing business primarily online, “it’s sort of ripe for job scams right now,” Thomson said. 

The home page for Synebo, a company based in Odessa, Ukraine, is shown on the left. Gux-IT, a fake company created to attract job seekers it can then use to transfer money into crytocurrency, copied Synebo’s website to look like a legitimate organization. (CBC News)

Ashley’s first day of work at Gux-IT on July 6 started normally enough. She gave the company a copy of her driver’s licence, but not her social insurance number. She didn’t supply any banking information; she was told she’d be paid via e-transfers biweekly.

The person introduced as Ashley’s HR manager communicated with her using the Telegram messaging app — something that didn’t seem strange in an era of teleworking.  Her manager used the name Nancy Garapick. After the fact, Ashley realized it was a fake identity — the stolen name of a Canadian Olympic swimmer.  

CBC News has agreed to use only Ashley’s first name because it’s not known who or where the people behind Gux-IT are. She fears for her safety after sharing her experience publicly. 

For the first part of the day, Nancy had Ashley watch training and orientation videos. She urged Ashley to contact her with any questions or concerns.

Later in the day, Nancy messaged Ashley with her first task: to help the IT department, which she was told advised clients on what software and website hosting tools they needed and also bought them on clients’ behalf.

Cryptocurrency transactions

“It is quite simple: you will need to buy domains, hosting for websites, pay for various tools that they need in their work,” wrote Nancy in a message Ashley screengrabbed and provided to CBC News.

To do that, Nancy wrote, “we will carry out the task of replenishing your work wallet” using Ethereum, or “Ether” — a cryptocurrency much like bitcoin.

Ashley, who brought Gux-IT’s fraudulent activity to CBC’s attention, took screenshots of her Telegram conversations with the person posing as her HR manager, including those instructing her to transfer cash into the cryptocurrency ‘Ethereum.’ The HR manager used the fake name ‘Nancy Garapick,’ stolen from a Canadian Olympic swimmer. (Submitted by Ashley)

There are bitcoin and Ethereum ATMs — just like regular ATMs — in convenience stores across Toronto, and several in other Canadian cities, such as Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver.  Ashley was told she would receive an e-transfer of $2,000 from the company and then go deposit it into a cryptocurrency ATM located in a convenience store on Gerrard Street in Toronto to start her “work wallet.”

Wanting to be extra cautious, Ashley contacted her Scotiabank branch and told them an e-transfer was coming from a new employer, and to alert her if anything looked suspicious. When the transfer arrived within a couple of hours, the bank didn’t raise any alarms, so Ashley withdrew the $2,000 as instructed and made the deposit.

She had just deposited the money into the Ether wallet when her phone rang with devastating news. The Google Street View she had previously seen had shown a building with several businesses in it, so her boyfriend had contacted a bar on the ground floor and asked an employee there if he would check the office directory after his shift.

‘My heart and my stomach just sank’

Still standing beside the ATM, Ashley listened as this “kind soul” returned their call. 

“He’s like, ‘Hey guys, I looked into it for you … and this company doesn’t exist. Like, it’s nowhere in the building,'” she said. “My heart and my stomach just sank.” 

Thomson at the anti-fraud centre said they’ve received another similar, anonymous report from someone else who was “hired” by Gux-IT and asked to do the same thing. 

The goal of “cash-out scams” like this, he said, is to move dirty money using “employees.”

‘Nancy’ directed Ashley to this Bitcoin and Ethereum ATM in a convenience store on Gerrard Street in Toronto to convert about $2,000 into cryptocurrency. (Greg Bruce/CBC News)

“What we see is the fraudsters take time to set up fraudulent websites that may spoof real companies or seem legitimate,” Thomson said. 

Then, they take money from “compromised accounts” and have unsuspecting people who think they’re doing legitimate work convert it into cryptocurrencies that are hard for law enforcement to track, he explained.

“They’re implicating you in a money laundering scheme, a cash-out scheme.”

Stolen website and parent company

CBC News investigated Gux-IT and found its website had been stolen — copied almost word for word, including the design, the description of the company’s services  and even employee photos — from a company called Synebo based in Odessa, Ukraine.  

The fraudsters substituted the name Gux-IT, or just “Gux, ” wherever Synebo is mentioned.

When reached by CBC News in Ukraine on Thursday, the founder and head of Synebo, Shimshon Korits, confirmed he had never heard of Gux-IT.  Synebo had recently received a couple of messages through its “contact us” email, which Korits wasn’t sure what to make of, alerting him that Gux-IT appeared to be stealing his company’s identity.

The Gux-IT website copied almost every part of Synebo’s website, including employee photos and company history, pictured above. Synebo’s website is on the left and the Gux-IT copy is on the right. (CBC News)

CBC News reviewed the emails: one was from someone who had been checking out Gux-IT for a friend who had been offered a job there and found the same photos were on both websites through a reverse image search. The other was from a woman who said she had clicked on the phone number listed on Gux-IT’s website and Synebo’s number came up.

When CBC News called the number at the bottom of Gux-IT’s website, it was out of service. 

With everyone associated with Gux-IT using fake names, no one knows who to contact. After “Nancy” tried to get Ashley to move another $3,000, Ashley blocked her.  Nancy then erased all the messages they had exchanged on Telegram, Ashley said. 

Even the “parent company” listed on Gux-IT’s website — Gux Enterprises Ltd. — is stolen. 

Ken Ellis, a steamfitter in rural Bonnington, B.C., registered Gux Enterprises Ltd. as a corporation last October when he was considering starting an equipment rental business. CBC News found him through the incorporation certificate filed with Industry Canada. 

Reached by phone on Thursday, Ellis was stunned.

“They’re just stealing my name and putting it on their website,” he said after checking the Gux-IT site himself.

‘This is a new digital world’

Ellis reported it to his local police force immediately after speaking to CBC News.

“Unfortunately the local police have informed me that they have no resources to take down the website or even do anything but open a file,” he wrote in an email. “I find it sickening that criminals keep finding more complex ways to fool and fraud people with relative impunity.

Ashley felt the same way. She’s reported Gux-IT to the Toronto Police Service and to Scotiabank. Both told CBC News they are investigating. 

So far, there’s no sign that the e-transfer she deposited at the cryptocurrency ATM has bounced, but her bank hasn’t confirmed that. Like Thomson at the anti-fraud centre, she suspects that the people responsible were using her to launder money. 

In addition, when she called credit monitoring companies Equifax and Transunion to flag her credit cards the day after she realized Gux-IT was a scam, she was horrified to learn her birthdate and address had been changed in their systems.  

Although they can’t prove Gux-IT was behind that, Thomson said he wouldn’t be surprised.

“They’re not just going after your money, they’re going after your personal information.  Your personal information is a commodity,” he said, noting that the fraudsters would likely use it to open other accounts, or sell it to other identity thieves. 

Although Ashley did her due diligence in researching the company, the “red flag” that should stop even the most savvy people from falling for schemes is being asked to transfer money — especially into cryptocurrency, Thomson said. 

“That’s where we say, ‘don’t do it,” he said. 

Ashley hopes that sharing her story will also help. 

“This is a new digital world,” she said. “I hope this helps others educate themselves.”
 

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Canada adds 374 new covid19 cases, 4 deaths on Thursday

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Canada saw 374 new coronavirus cases on Thursday and four new deaths.

The country now has 118,561 cases total and 8,966 deaths.

Ontario reported 95 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, on Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 39,809.

This is the fourth day in a row Ontario has seen case counts lower than 100.

The death toll in the province has risen to 2,783 as one new death was reported.

Meanwhile, 35,906 Ontarians have recovered from COVID-19, which is 90 per cent of cases.

 

Quebec reported 133 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Thursday.

The province has now recorded a total of 60,133 infections and 5,687 deaths from the disease.

Over in Nova Scotia, no new cases were reported Thursday. Two active cases remain in the province.

Two new cases were reported in New Brunswick — both linked to temporary foreign workers who had arrived in Moncton — totaling six active cases in the province and 176 confirmed cases total.

Saskatchewan reported one more death Thursday to make 19 total, as well as 11 new cases. There are currently 204 active cases in the province.

Manitoba saw a significant jump in COVID-19 cases Thursday, with health officials reporting 30 new cases of the virus compared to two cases reported Wednesday.

 

The new cases bring the total number of known lab-confirmed and probable cases reported in Manitoba since March to 474, with 118 currently active.

Meanwhile, Alberta saw 56 more cases as the province celebrated a week-long trend of daily cases coming in under 100 after a surge in cases across the province. The province has seen 11,296 total cases and currently has 1,107 active cases.

Two more deaths were also reported to bring its death toll to 205.

British Columbia reported 47 new cases in the past 24 hours to bring the total number of cases in the province to 3,881.

There are now 371 active cases, and 11 people are in hospital, five of which are in critical care. The number of active cases has risen dramatically since being at 166 in early July.

For the sixth day in a row, there have been no new deaths. The number of people who have died of COVID-19 in B.C. remains at 195.

 

There have now been 19,007,938 coronavirus cases worldwide with 4,876,790 of them in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

In total, 712,334 have died around the world, and 159,990 in the U.S.

— With files from the Canadian Press, Gabby Rodrigues, Karla Renic, Thomas Piller, Shane Gibson, Kirby Bourne

Source:- Global News

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More than 750 Canadians have received 'unsolicited seeds,' CFIA says – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has received more than 750 reports of unsolicited seeds sent to Canadians across the country.

In a news release, the CFIA said Canadians in each province have received the mysterious packages, though there haven’t been any reported seed deliveries in the territories.

“In collaboration with the Canadian public, the CFIA continues to collect information on these unsolicited seed packages, including information about the contents, on the sender, return address (if any), postmark, and how the package was labelled,” the release states.

The CFIA said the packages are sent from several countries and are usually declared as toys or jewelry, which makes it difficult to catch at the border.

The seeds are from a variety of plants, including tomatoes, strawberries, roses and citrus plants. Some of them contained weeds found in Canada, including shepherd’s purse and flixweed.

“Based on visual inspections carried out to datethe seeds appear to be low risk, however Canadians are being cautioned to not plant these seeds from unknown origins,” the CFIA said.

The agency said it’s still unclear where the seeds are coming from and why people are receiving them, although some of the recipients had ordered seeds in the past.

The United States Department of Agriculture has said the seeds are believed to be part of a “brushing scam,” in which a company sends packages to unsolicited destinations and uses the order to boost customer reviews to improve their standing online.

The CFIA said it is considering all options, including the possibility of a brushing scam.

Anyone who receives some unsolicited seeds in the mail is asked to put the entire package in a second bag and report it to the CFIA.

If the seeds are already planted, the CFIA asks from them to be removed.

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