Identity Theft: It’s Not Just About Credit Card Fraud

http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/english/recognizeit_identitythe.html

There are many forms of identity theft ranging from financial, medical, insurance, criminal, drivers license, social security/SIN, synthetic, and child identity theft. Thieves are getting increasingly clever and even targeting young children online who won’t realize their identity has even been compromised until decades later.

Most victims did not have something in place to inform them that they have become a victim of identity theft. This means it is just a matter of time until another victim is chosen out of the proverbial hat. Don’t let it happen to you, protect yourself with a complete ID theft monitoring and restoration service.

With credit card identity theft as the one example (accounting for 15-25% of all cases of identity theft), you won’t even know that you are a victim until:

  • A creditor informs you that an application for credit was received with your name and address, which you did not apply for.
  • Telephone calls or letters state that you have been approved or denied by a creditor that you never applied to.
  • You receive credit card statements or other bills in your name, which you did not apply for.
  • You no longer receive credit card statements or you notice that not all of your mail is delivered.
  • A collection agency informs you they are collecting for a defaulted account established with your identity and you never opened the account.

The risk of doing nothing can means thousands of dollars or even hours trying to fix the problem yourself down the road when the damage has already been done. The identity thief will then move onto victim after victim with nobody in his or her way.

The police cannot help. The CRA cannot help. Without an identity theft insurance you are left to fix your own identity which can mean taking valuable time off from work. It isn’t uncommon for victims to spend 600-2000 hours to fix the problem not to mention the things that go on their record permanently.

Contact a LegalShield Independent Associate and enroll for the preventative plans offered exclusive to LegalShield by Kroll Advisory Solutions – the #1 risk mitigation firm in the world.

Security concerns prompt tax agency to shut down website

Security concerns prompt tax agency to shut down website Read more:

View Article At: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/security-concerns-prompt-tax-agency-to-shut-down-website-1.1767727#ixzz2yPJW1WaU

Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, April 9, 2014 8:11AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:24PM EDT

The Canada Revenue Agency has shut down public access to its electronic services website over security concerns related to the “Heartbleed Bug,” a newly discovered software flaw that has made information on many of the world’s major websites vulnerable to theft.

In a message posted online, the agency said that it had temporarily closed its services site “to protect the security of taxpayer information.”

 

 

March Is Fraud Prevention Month

March is Fraud Prevention Month – Minister Findlay reminds Canadians to protect themselves against fraud [Original: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=828309]

 

March 24, 2014 – Ottawa – Canada Revenue Agency

March is Fraud Prevention Month across Canada, and the Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Minister of National Revenue, marked the occasion by reminding Canadians to protect themselves against fraud. And while the spotlight is on fraud this month, Minister Findlay emphasized the importance of being vigilant all year long.

Our Government is committed to combatting fraud and protecting Canadian taxpayers from becoming victims by providing clear information on how to recognize fraudulent tax schemes and by encouraging them to report scams. Being informed and taking action to protect yourself also helps to protect the integrity of Canada’s tax system.

The CRA has strong security measures that help to protect taxpayers from fraudulent schemes. Canadians are reminded that the CRA will not send information about personal refunds or benefit payments by email, will not ask for personal information by email, and will not leave any personal information on an answering machine. All phone calls or emails of this nature should not be answered and should be reported to the RCMP’s Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

View the facts…

Two-thirds of B.C. businesses say they’ve been targeted by scammers

We all know that this number is closer to 100%.

Scammers are growing increasingly clever.

While nobody can stop identity theft from happening to them and don’t have any measures in place for monitoring or restoration if they become a victim there are ways to stop it. More families and companies are emphasizing the importance of having an identity theft protection plan.

Those who are unfamiliar with computer technology, are unaware of the tactics used by scammers, or make hasty decisions, are at greater risk for becoming victims of identity theft or fraud.

Fraudulent email cost him $36,000

Here are some stats posted by the Canadian Federation of Independent business. (Average cost of fraud $7,594 (in money, lost time, potential sales, and legal fees)

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Legal Tips Every Pet Owner Must Know

Legal Tips Every Pet Owner Must Know

March 5, 2014 – LegalShield

Pets are a wonderful and enjoyable part of life, but don’t forget when a pet joins your family they also become your legal responsibility. While you might want to simply toss a Frisbee with Fifi, it’s important to first understand the legal requirements of pet ownership.

We have created a useful infographic describing six important legal aspects of owning a pet. They span a wide variety of responsibilities. Did you know that you may be accountable if your pet has been accused of vicious behavior in the past? Have you double checked your home or apartment contract in regards to your pet? Many people sign their contract before bringing a new pet into the family. Understanding these legal intricacies will keep you and Fifi out of trouble.

State and local laws often have different requirements for pet ownership, ranging from leash laws to inoculations. There are even localities that issue ordinances about pet noise. Parks and public places may require you to clean up after your pets. If you’re not sure where to find information for your local or state laws, we can help.

The provider attorneys at LegalShield can help you avoid mistakes that will make you unpopular with the neighbors or landlord. When you call your LegalShield provider law firm, you’ll draw on expertise to understand your unique pet ownership requirements. Review each aspect on our infographic to save yourself from unnecessary disputes or future hassles regarding your pet.

BMO Scammed – Canadian Cancer Patient Loses $87k

Original at http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2014/03/03/canadas-bmo-bank-falls-for-scam-empties-customers-account-87k/ –

By Wojtek Gwiazda | english@rcinet.ca
Monday 3 March, 2014

“I think [BMO was] just trying to wear me out, hoping I would just fade away … or die,” says Canadian Bruce Taylor whose bank BMO fell for a scam and emptied his account of $87,500.

The Bank of Montreal customer went public because he believes other customers should be warned about how the bank wired his inheritance money into the hands of a scammer and then reacted when they where informed by police of the fraud.

“My parents worked all their lives and put that bit away every week and they left it to myself and my sister,” Taylor told Kathy Tomlinson of CBC News. “For 50 years they saved that money and then it’s gone — overnight.”

In August of 2012, while he was having open heart surgery, someone using Taylor’s email address, emailed Taylor’s BMO investment adviser saying he needed the money wired to his cousin, immediately.

The impostor’s emails had several spelling and grammatical errors. Then the request was faxed to BMO.

“I don’t understand why the Bank of Montreal didn’t scrutinize those faxes,” said Taylor. “You can tell that they were written by someone whose first language was not English.”

As soon as Canada’s federal police force, the RCMP, confirmed BMO had been duped, Taylor said he expected the bank to replace his money. Instead, he went through months of wrangling with BMO lawyers and managers.

“The bank has determined it will reimburse you the full amount, subject to the following,” reads a BMO letter to Taylor in January. There are two pages of legally binding conditions, including Taylor agreeing to have no further claims against the bank.

“I am afraid to sign that BMO agreement,” said Taylor. “I do not understand why BMO just does not replace my money.”

See article at http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2014/03/03/canadas-bmo-bank-falls-for-scam-empties-customers-account-87k/

Canadian Bank Bitcoins Hacked

Read original article: http://money.ca.msn.com/savings-debt/yourmoney/bitcoin-bank-closes-after-high-tech-heist-2

SAN FRANCISCO – A Canadian bank specializing in bitcoins says it has closed after computer hackers stole its digital currency.

The closure of the Flexcoin bank comes just a week after the collapse of Mt. Gox, a major bitcoin exchange. The Japan-based Mt. Gox also linked its demise to an electronic heist.

The twin failures of Mt. Gox and Flexcoin will likely raise more doubts about bitcoin’s ability to establish itself as an alternative currency.

In a notice Tuesday, Flexcoin says 896 bitcoins were stolen from its online vault. That translates into a loss of about $600,000, based on bitcoin’s current trading value.

Unlike banks dealing in government-backed currencies, Flexcoin’s losses aren’t covered by deposit insurance. The Alberta bank says it can’t recover from the setback.

Bitcoins that Flexcoin kept offline, or in “cold storage,” remain secure, according to the bank. Although Flexcoin didn’t provide details, bitcoins stored this way are often documented on paper certificates or on a hard drive that’s not connected to the Internet.

The Mt. Gox collapse represents a far bigger blow to bitcoin’s credibility. That downfall wiped out about 750,000 bitcoins, or about six per cent of the currency’s total circulation. Mt. Gox has filed for bankruptcy protections while it sifts through its financial mess.

Supporters are touting the five-year-old currency as a way to lower transaction fees by cutting out banks and payment processors that collect billions of dollars annually by serving as financial middlemen. Skeptics, including government leaders around the world, deride bitcoins as a currency suitable only for speculators.

Read original article: http://money.ca.msn.com/savings-debt/yourmoney/bitcoin-bank-closes-after-high-tech-heist-2

7 Ways To Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

Read the 7 tips at http://thelaw.tv/news/2013/11/21/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-credit-card-fraud/

Do not open any attached files in an email that is not official. The government, banks, and many other places you do business at will not email you. There are some exceptions such as cell phone companies and some social media websites. Many times the identity thieves will attempt to use an email address resembling an official name. The number of people who fall for online scams is surprisingly high. This may be why identity thieves continue to employ them. Do not reply to any email that you did not request as the sender will then know that your email account is active.

If you receive an email requesting you to update your passwords delete the email. Rather than opening any web links from that email instead go to the official website(.com) and change your password manually from there. Opening a website that you are receiving in an email is one way for the identity thief to download a bug or virus into your computer. You may not even know the computer is being monitored and personal information is being stolen.

It may be the case that you are receiving an email from an email account that has been hacked into and posing as your friend or relative. Prior to sending anything ensure that the person is in fact who they say they are. This can be done by phoning them. If a person uses the same password for multiple accounts it is possible that the hacker will also have access to social media accounts and also change the passwords to lock out the original user. In general, do not leave personal information sitting in an email in your inbox for an identity thief to find. These steps will help to protect yourself and to notify any persons whose accounts may have been compromised.

Identity theft is a problem that is not going away any time soon. The number of people that are affected year after year continues to grow. Protecting you and your family by getting an identity theft plan to monitor your credit cards, online accounts, social insurance number, drivers license, medical, criminal/character records, and also having full restorative services should a breech occur is a worthy investment.

LegalShield is the only company that offers a comprehensive monitoring and complete identity theft restoration service. (Not a do it yourself kit). It can be purchased separately or with a legal plan. It makes a lot of sense for the two to be purchased together as identity theft is also a legal issue.

 

 

 

Legal Aid Doesn’t Work

First you need to qualify for Legal Aid http://www.lss.bc.ca/legal_aid/doIQualifyAdvice.php

It has been said that the Legal Aid system is widely ineffective. The time and money lost dealing with long hauled out legal battles isn’t worth it.

Ask someone that has gone through their system.

There aren’t many other options. However, if you do plan on going to court and need to hire a lawyer consider becoming a LegalShield member. LegalShield’s attorneys average 19 years of experience and have a vast amount of experience as they are constantly in and out of court. Not only will you get a senior attorney at a junior attorney’s hourly rate but they will help you reach the most cost-effective resolution to your conflict.

LegalShield’s lawyers are focused on helping their members stay out of trouble quickly without costing them a fortune. This is all possible because of the large number of people that are already LegalShield members and dedicated provider attorney network across North America all monitored by the head office. Being able to save 25-33% off of what would cost $10,000 in legal fees is significant and it is worth becoming a member just for that alone.

There are many misconceptions about the quality of LegalShield lawyers. One only needs to visit one of the largest provider law firms and see how busy they are. The member that has had their membership for a while and used it properly will understand the difference not only in their pocketbook but also in the time they saved.

Normally when people hire lawyers they find themselves constantly topping up their retainer fee over and over to the point where the legal fees are greater than any benefit from the lawsuit itself. It is no wonder why people don’t use lawyers, are afraid of lawyers, and avoid lawyers. LegalShield lawyers attempt to resolve all issues outside of court. Should it go to court the member receives a heavily discounted hourly rate and the best representation available.

The legal system is broken. LegalShield is decades ahead of the competition. Some people have kept their monthly membership plan for many decades since the company was founded in 1972 and still have access to their rights and freedoms. The majority of society sadly does not. If a person is overcharged they need to hire a lawyer just to do something about it. The bill they receive from their lawyer mitigates any benefit they might have had.

LegalShield has never had any contracts. It has always been a month-to-month membership that people could cancel at any point in time. There are no issues of constant overbilling aside from cancelling the membership before the enrollment date. Cancelling only requires a phone call WITH an email or faxed in letter. There are more problems with people’s membership reinstatement applications being denied than there are with cancellations. People need LegalShield more than LegalShield needs them. It is just a matter of time until more people begin to realize how valuable having access to on-call legal services can be.

There are over 1.4 million LegalShield memberships covering 4 million people. The company will grow and more people will eventually become members. False claims are simply false claims. The law firms are real. Most of them are 5* AV-Rated. You can go to their physical locations and meet with the lawyers in person.

Why do other lawyers, people offering legal advice online, and other companies in our industry fear LegalShield? Simply because if everyone knew what LegalShield really was then all of those businesses would lose most of their customers.

There are over 2 million requests for legal assistance each year by LegalShield members. Many of those calls probably would not have been made. It is rare to find lawyers that are on-call for emergency situations at 3am on Christmas Eve outside of LegalShield.

Speak with a LegalShield Independent Associate that markets these plans in your local area for a free no obligation consultation about how it works and how you can set up your membership today.

Action plan to crackdown on crime

See: http://www.surrey.ca/city-government/14736.aspx#sthash.dmND7b1r.dpuf

February 14, 2014

Mayor’s Task Force reports early success in Surrey

Surrey, BC – With the release of the recommendations on the work of the Mayor’s Task Force on crime Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts promised that she would not rest until the job is done.

“I’m encouraged by what my Task Force has been able to achieve in such a short time period,” says Mayor Watts. “I want to assure the people of Surrey that continuing to confront and disrupt criminal behaviour is my number one priority.”

“I will continue to reach out and work with anyone in the community who shares this goal. We will take any idea that will work, no matter where it comes from,” Mayor Watts continues.

The Mayor’s Task Force was struck on November 18, 2013 to address the issues relating to the city’s homicides. Since that time Task Force partners have been actively disrupting criminal activity in the city’s most high risk locations.

The Task Force’s “High Risk Location” initiative is a partnership between Surrey RCMP, Surrey Fire Services and Surrey Bylaws. Together, they have created a seamless database and rapid deployment initiative to more seamlessly address locations that pose the highest risk to public safety. Recognizing that the vast majority of Surrey’s homicides stemmed from lifestyles involving drugs and other criminal activity, the Task Force has increased enforcement efforts at these high risk locations in the city where drug trafficking and other crime occur.

Since the creation of the Mayor’s Task Force, and as of February 14, 2014, the following results have been realized through the High Risk Location Initiative:
• 175 arrests made
• 53 criminal charges recommended
• Over 340 high risk locations investigated and/or inspected
• 15 search warrants executed
• 8 locations demolished or awaiting demolition
• Inspected 144 unregulated recovery homes
• Over $90,000 and 14 vehicles seized as offence-related property
• 122 street checks

“We are targeting locations that mirror those where homicides have happened in the past,” says Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy, who has dedicated 49 specialized officers to the initiative. “It is generally these types of locations where those living high risk lifestyles come together and create an increased risk to public safety and potentially violent crime.”

A detailed backgrounder about the work of the Task Force is attached.

“All of the stakeholders involved in this Task Force are focused on increasing public safety and reducing crime in our city,” says Mayor Watts. “We are encouraged by the results so far, however the real success will be seen in the long term changes and technologies that we can put in place to effect permanent change. We will not rest until the job is done.”

-30-

View Mayor’s Task Force Action Plan (PDF)

For City inquiries:
Amanda Silvers
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor, City of Surrey
604-591-4519

For Surrey RCMP inquiries:
Cpl. Bert Paquet
Media Relations Officer
Surrey RCMP Media Relations Unit
604-599-7776
surrey_media_relations@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Surrey’s New $97-million City Hall

Black marble walls reach up eight metres inside the foyer of Surrey’s new city hall, while six storeys of window panes offer a view of a public plaza, the city’s new library and Central City tower.

The open atrium, with stone tile floors, spans the full six floors of the building, with a 20-metre-long artwork centerpiece – a metal flock of birds – flying toward the large window.

A wide staircase on the north side ascends, and at each landing, serves as a bridge between the east and west sides of the building.

On Thursday, workers were still scrambling to put the finishing touches on the structure, sanding down surfaces, covering exposed wire, and screwing banisters into stairwells.

Feb. 13 left only three days until City of Surrey staff moved from the old city hall at 14245 56 Ave. into their shiny new digs in North Surrey.

Officials insisted the $97-million building at 13450 104 Ave. would be move-in ready by Monday, Feb. 17, when the city officially starts doing business at the new city hall.

Much of the back areas of the hall are constructed as one would expect, with typical hub-style workstations separated by thick white dividers.

The outermost offices, for managers and city councillors, have floor-to-ceiling windows and gracious views.

The councillors’ offices are located on the fifth level. The mayor’s office, with adjoining balcony facing south, is on the top floor, which was closed during The Leader’s visit on Thursday.

The new 180,000-sq.-ft. building is touted as being more than just a city hall, with its council chambers also serving as a performing arts venue and meeting place.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certified building also features a district energy heating system. That system will use geothermal energy, sewer heat recovery and industrial waste to warm the building, reducing the reliance on traditional heating methods.

Surrey’s new city hall has been described as “grand” and “palatial” by some, and “gaudy” by critics. A few have referred to the building as “Watts Mahal,” in reference to the opulent palace in India.

The city has been criticized by some for borrowing $97 million for a city hall when other civic needs are becoming apparent.

Jordan Bateman, the B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said he’s getting an increasing number of calls from people in Surrey who are concerned about how their tax dollars are being spent.

He says the complaints are coming from both the residential and business sectors.

“Any time you’re spending almost $100 million on a building for bureaucrats, when you’re under-policed, when you have other issues facing the community, I think a lot of taxpayers are going to be nervous about it,” Bateman told The Leader Thursday.

He added it’s a matter of determining what’s important for the community.

“Obviously, in Surrey there are higher priorities for most people than building a new city hall,” said Bateman, a former councillor for Langley Township.

He added city halls are never a popular project.

“Most people go their whole lives without stepping inside it.”

Callers have told Bateman they are anxious to get a look inside to see what their money bought.

“It certainly looks grandiose from the outside, the question is have they gone for reasonable cost-saving measures inside?” Bateman said. “Is it going to be super fancy? Are there going to be marble counter tops, expensive carpet tiles, things like that?”

Mayor Dianne Watts said Surrey’s City Centre is going to be this region’s next downtown core.

“It’s really important, when you’re building a downtown core, you have to have a city presence,” Watts said.

Once the city announced it was moving its city hall, Surrey attracted $3 billion in private-sector development in Whalley, Watts said.

“We get those taxes in perpetuity for other pieces of infrastructure,” Watts said. “We can’t expect the private sector to invest in our downtown core if we’re not prepared to do it ourselves.”

She added the building has to meet municipal needs for decades into the future.

“When you look down the road, 50 years, 75 years, all the great cities have iconic architecture,” Watts said.

Several city departments will move into the new city hall over the weekend, and it will open to the public on Monday.

Council meetings will begin at the new facility on March 31, once all the audio-video work is complete.

@diakiw

Vancouver city staff receive layoff notices

More at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/vancouver-city-staff-receive-layoff-notices/article1441359/

Frances Bula

Vancouver — Special to The Globe and Mail

Published

Last updated

Vancouver’s city manager has notified 44 staff that their positions have been eliminated, saying that she’s giving that notice to reduce the uncertainty about how many jobs are going to be eliminated because of cutbacks and reorganization.

A memo that went out to staff late Thursday night from city manager Penny Ballem acknowledged that “communicating this kind of news at any time is not easy, and some people will question why we are doing this so close to the Olympics.” However, she said, there was so much uncertainty about job cuts announced during December budget discussions that it was having a demoralizing impact on everyone and so it was better to announce the actual numbers as soon as possible.

In an interview Friday, she added that “I’ve been through these things and we’re trying to do this in a respectful way.” The cuts are smaller than originally planned. Councillors were told in December that 167 jobs would be eliminated, 109 as part of simple budget-cutting and another 58 as part of the reorganization that Ms. Ballem has initiated at city hall. Another 12 jobs in engineering services were targeted for cuts after that because of continuing drops in revenues and demands for service in that area.

But of the 121 jobs that were supposed to be eliminated to save money, Ms. Ballem said 77 have been salvaged through staff rearrangements, retirements and transfers. “People are really busting their ass to try to make this work,” said Ms. Ballem, of the efforts managers have made to find alternatives to layoffs.

The 44 staff notified got 60-day notices, which will give them two months to try to find other positions in the organization. Ms. Ballen said she hoped that eventually no one would actually have to be laid off.

One of the city union presidents expressed disappointment that 42 of the notices are to union staff, while only two of the approximately 800 management staff got notices.

Paul Faoro also said the city provided the specifics on layoffs only after CUPE 15 filed a complaint with the labour relations board.

Budget challenges forces 233 government layoffs

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, January 20, 2010 9:07PM PST

The B.C. government is laying off 233 people in the forests and citizens’ service ministries, citing budget challenges in the coming year.

It’s the second round of provincial government job cuts since the Liberal government announced a record budget deficit last fall.

Last September, 106 government jobs were cut through attrition, employee transfers and a hiring freeze.

 

Allan Seckel, Premier Gordon Campbell’s deputy minister, said in an email to public employees Wednesday that further workforce adjustments may be required as the government prepares to manage another challenging fiscal year.

“As we all prepare to manage into another challenging fiscal year, further workforce adjustment may be required,” the email said. “But we are continuing our commitment to keep the overall impact on staff to less than five per cent of our workforce over three years.”

The layoffs come at a particularly difficult time for the B.C. forests industry as the signs of economic recovery are showing little impact in the province’s hard-hit forest sector.

The pine beetle epidemic, the economic downturn in the United States and low pulp prices have crippled what was once British Columbia’s economic engine, generating $4 billion in government revenue annually.

Campbell is set to deliver a major speech Wednesday to the province’s truck loggers, who are looking for signs of hope in gloomy times.

“I know this second round of workforce adjustment creates renewed uncertainty for many of you,” said Seckel’s email. “There is no denying that these are difficult times that continue to test us as an organization. It can be stressful.”

Finance Minister Colin Hansen said the B.C. economy is showing signs of recovery but it will take several years for the government to recover from massive revenue losses in the last year.

The government forecast a record budget deficit budget of $2.8 billion for the current fiscal year after projected government revenues dropped by $2 billion last summer.

The deficit forecast for the budget due in March is $1.7 billion.

Woman hangs herself at the Vancouver airport’s BC Immigration Holding Centre

Lucia Vega Jimenez, 42, had fled her home in Mexico out of fear for her safety. When she was arrested for an unpaid bus fare situation and denied refugee status, she told a friend that she’d rather die than return to her domestic situation.

Tragically, that’s exactly what happened. In December, Lucia was found hanging in her cell at Vancouver International Airport. Obviously, this is a horrifying event all on its own. But the circumstances that drove Lucia to kill herself could be devastating, too. While at YVR, Lucia was in the custody of a private security firm.

Though she may have requested a lawyer, in order to receive one, she would have had to be transferred downtown at border officers’ convenience.

And no one knows exactly what the operating procedures of that private security firm are. Here’s what we do know. According to Lucia’s friend, Yasmin Trejo, Lucia had gone 40 minutes without oxygen. That means that whoever was in charge of her left her in her cell, alone and scared, and driven to desperate measures to try to escape.

That’s not the way to treat immigrants — that’s not the way to treat anyone. It may be too late for Lucia, but it’s not too late for the detainees like her. Demand a full and immediate investigation into Lucia’s death.

BC Coal Export Plan – Unforeseen Consequences

What they are doing is disrespectful to the residents of this community. In 2012 Harper eliminated environmental assessments from 99% of the projects that would normally be subject to an environmental assessment.

“Who will take accountability for the unforseen consequences of environmental contamination? The effects of which may take many decades to manifest as cancer?

Black carbon, linked to conditions including asthma and cancer, is a “particular problem,” according to the University of California statement.

Ever laugh at people who wear face-masks? Ever wondered why they wear them?

CHINA-ENVIRONMENT-POLLUTION-HEALTH

The abundance of natural resources is what forms the backbone of Canada’s trading relationships with fast emerging economies and will continue to be the case for many years to come. This is particularly true with regards to the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

The plans to export thermal coal from the West Coast to Asia are underway as miners look to ship these resources overseas. There is a demand for thermal coal, a commodity that is widely used in power plants for the purposes of generating electricity In other parts of the world.

Said demand has lessened in North America in more recent years due to the boom in U.S. Shale production. Many U.S. power plants are using natural gas. The resulting coal glut has mining companies in North America searching for the demand in Asian markets.

The current proposed staging ground is Fraser Surrey Docks LP. A terminal located on on the Fraser River in Surrey, BC. They hope to be a key player in the export of thermal coal from the Wyoming Powder River basin. The Fraser Surrey Docks is owned by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, an investment fund.

This is undoubtedly an enormous opportunity for mining and shipping sectors to cater to the demand for energy in Asia. The hot topic of Alberta’s oil sands, Northern Gateway, and Keystone XL have taken the spotlight and overshadowed any proposed battles for coal exports. The resistance comes primarily from environmentalists.

The main issues of coal export and even use of rests in concerns of global warming. This is a legitimate concern as the increased use spells for greater local health worries. Air quality and water quality are undoubtedly going to be negatively affected. Should we be cutting back on energy consumption? Yes. Will it happen under the current status quo? Not likely. Environmentalists are a small group and are often trampled on. Playing the green card has been something companies used simply to keep up with appearances (appear progressive) and appease the population.

The chief medical officers of Vancouver Coastal Health claim that more study needs to be conducted on the impacts of coal dust on the environment. This seems obvious but haven’t there already been enough case studies of  environmental and medical impacts on mining on surrounding communities and water bodies? The increased pollution, acid rain, reduced water quality, cancer, subsequent consequences such as increasing visits to the hospital both immediately and many years down the road, are all potential pitfalls that many are unaware of or too busy to bother with. The good news is that there are people who take a stand on behalf of the population against big companies.

Will the mining plans come to fruition anyway? Perhaps for now. Those who should be most concerned are those living in the surrounding areas. Will there be increased visits to the hospital for asthma and other respiratory issues? Probably. For those who are health conscious and consume organic foods those benefits can be mitigated by the negative impacts of Thermal coal mining. It isn’t just the one-time mega dose of contamination but the prolonged exposure that causes cancer.

Mining companies are well aware of the implications on health and factor the fines and penalties into their budget. If they can still be profitable despite the penalties they will likely pursue anyways. If enough people are opposed there may be enough of a disincentive (on licensing) for those companies to reconsider.

When robbing a bank the last thing a thief wants is for someone to raise the alarm. As long as the residents in the Lower Mainland remain silent on this issue it will go down as another ‘too late’ moment in our history.

Skip to the 1-minute mark to see some coal dust.

Sign the petitions and do your part to stop the expansion of coal exports from BC ports

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/209/825/748/stop-us-thermal-coal-exports-through-bc-communities/

http://dogwoodinitiative.org/beyondcoal/learn-more

Other sources:

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Pollution+from+China+harming+quality+west+coast+study/9418790/story.html

China’s Face-Mask Trend: Photos Of Ridiculous Radiation-Prevention Masks

Black lung: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalworker’s_pneumoconiosis

Also look at photos from Beijing. Not bad enough?: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/14/beijing-smog-continues-media-action

Coming back to the coastline of North America: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Pollution+from+China+harming+quality+west+coast+study/9418790/story.html

Margot Bentley: Living Will Alzheimer’s Patient

Alzheimer’s patient’s case outlines the importance of making wishes clear.

The cost of having a good lawyer far outweighs the cost of not having one. Bentley is an 82-year-old Alzheimer’s patient who is now in an Abbotsford care home. Her family brought a suit against the home insisting that Bailey is being kept alive despite a “living will” made out in 1991 stating that she was to receive no nourishment or liquids if there was no reasonable expectation of recovery from extreme physical or mental disability. This is something she reiterated to her family repeatedly when she was first diagnosed in 1999.

The care home argues that her ingestion of food signals consent to being fed.

Justice Greyell finds that spoon-feeding Bentley was considered ‘personal care’.

A very high threshold of clarity is required when drafting a living will.

Most Canadians and Americans die without a properly drafted living will or a last will and testament. This means a lot of time and money is spent in court by surviving family members.

Everyone should prepare their last will and testament along with their living will. We don’t get a second chance to prepare these when we die.

LegalShield members get to enjoy the peace of mind knowing that they have an updated will, living will, and representation agreements for their family without worrying about the upfront costs.

Designated Driver Not Covered When Drunk Passenger Causes Crash

According to Justice Anthony Sanders (a Supreme Court Judge), designated drivers injured in a crash caused by a drunken passenger are not covered by third-party liability insurance.

Marnette Felix and drunk boyfriend Kevin Hearne

The single mother of two was awarded$791,950 in damages and $71,292.63 against Hearne’s estate.

Felix sought to recover from Icbc the amount of $863,242.63 plus post-judgment interest.

Hearne’s lead lawyer argued that Felix should be covered because Hearne was a passenger who committed a negligent act no different than if he had opened the door only list.

If third-party liability coverage does not extend to situations involving impaired passengers on the grounds that his or her use of the vehicle is not ‘use’ within the meaning of the Revised Regulation it could leave designated drivers without any means of compensation.

If true, those things would appear to be powerful disincentives to anyone acting as a designated driver where there are risks of passengers acting irresponsibly.

Telling people to “know what their rights are” is as futile as saying “use common sense.” People can’t be expected to know what they don’t know so it is important to have access to sound legal advice from expert attorneys in every field of law.

Target breach spurs ID theft insurance interest

http://www.benefitspro.com/2014/01/30/target-breach-spurs-id-theft-insurance-interest?ref=hp

If the Target security breach proves anything, it’s this: No one is safe from identity theft scammers. Authorities are still looking for the creator of the malware that compromised the credit card numbers and other personal information of up to 110 million Target customers in November and December… Click the link to view the entire article.

Hidden Dangers: Business Identity Theft & Other Types of Business Fraud

See: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/feds-are-probing-target-hacking-ag-holder-says-2D12014821

 

We tend to hear quite a bit about credit card fraud and stolen identities. The issue was again brought to the nation’s attention at the end of last year, when hackers sent a virus which infected the point-of-sale terminals at Target, capturing credit and debit card numbers and corresponding PIN data. The hackers also broke into the retail giant’s databases to steal customer information including names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Officials currently estimate that 40 million credit and debit cards as well as the personal information from 70 million additional customers were compromised, making it the largest such hack in history.

The sheer numbers involved in this incident make it remarkable, but the damage done to individuals is likely to be minimal. Target is seeking to mitigate the effects by offering a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance to all its customers. In addition, government regulations protect individuals from having to pay if their credit cards are use fraudulently. The issue can get a little more complex when it comes to debit cards (especially if PINs have been compromised), and full-fledged personal identity theft can be an enormous headache. But ultimately, vigilant consumers who are properly counseled will fully recover.

A potentially much more damaging issue is the fraudulent use of business credit cards and business identities. We haven’t heard it discussed much in the media, but there have been several large incidents in recent years.

In August 2012, South Carolina’s Department of Revenue was hacked. Data from the state’s residents and businesses was compromised. In October 2013, the City of Wichita’s website was hacked; in this case, the perpetrators specifically targeted vendor and city employee financial information.

Surely included among the 110 million victims of the Target hack are thousands of small businesses who rely on the retailer for supplies. For these business customers, the consequences of a stolen credit card could be considerably more severe than for individuals, for several reasons.

First, generally the amount of money involved is greater because business credit card limits are usually higher than personal limits. Secondly, while government regulations ensure that individual consumers are not liable for fraudulent credit card activity, the same protections do not exist for business customers. Fraud protection is at the discretion of individual financial institutions.

Similarly, business identity theft can be more severe than personal identity theft, so much so that many businesses do not survive it. Those that do survive often lose untold thousands of dollars. Even more worrisome is that small business owners are unlikely to know any of this. After all, business owners have plenty of other things to be concerned about, like growing and expanding their businesses.

Because business fraud isn’t often talked about, it’s likely not top of mind. And it’s such a complex set of crimes that it’s difficult for even the best educated business owners to keep track of all the ways fraud can occur. For example, identity theft can take a myriad of forms, from email phishing for account information to check fraud to impersonating a business by filing forged documents with the Secretary of State.

We need a two-pronged approach to combating these types of business fraud. First, at a macro level we need enhanced security measures. This is particularly vital in the United States, where 47% of the world’s credit card fraud occurs. If we adopted some of the best practices of other countries, American consumers and business owners would cease to be low-hanging fruit for identity thieves.

Hopefully, the Target incident will bring about some much needed change. Several state attorneys general have banded together to examine the security breach; Democrats in the United States House of Representatives have also requested a separate investigation. Hopefully these probes will result in recommendations to make the system more secure on a macro level.

Additionally, Secretaries of State across the country are working to minimize business identity theft as it relates to false filings in their departments. To that end, many states now offer alerts to tell business owners when their company information has been accessed or changed. Of course, these services are only useful if business owners know about them, which is the second part of the equation.

We must bring the issue of business fraud to the attention of business owners, before incidents like the hacks in South Carolina and Wichita occur. There are many actions they can take to drastically minimize their risks, from monitoring their accounts and checking their credit profiles to enabling alerts and subscribing to third-party solutions. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. It’s a tragedy if even one company is taken down by identity thieves. Protecting them, and teaching them how to protect themselves, must be a priority in the digital age.

Target says hackers stole credentials from vendor

A Target store in Alhambra, California. U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder says the Feds are probing the hacking of customer data from the retail chain.

Target said Wednesday that the cyber criminals who breached its system used credentials they stole from one of the retailer’s vendors.

“The ongoing forensic investigation has indicated that the intruder stole a vendor’s credentials, which were used to access our system,” Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in a statement.

She declined to elaborate on what type of credentials were taken from the vendor.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is investigating the hacking, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday.

Testifying at a U.S. Senate hearing, Holder said the department will seek not only to find the perpetrators of the breach but also “any individuals and groups who exploit that data via credit card fraud.”

Target has said a breach of its networks during the busy holiday shopping period resulted in the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records with customer information such as addresses and telephone numbers.

The Secret Service usually takes the lead in credit card breach investigations for the federal government.

In his statement to senators, Holder said the department took reports of data breaches seriously.

“While we generally do not discuss specific matters under investigation, I can confirm the department is investigating the breach involving the U.S. retailer, Target,” he said.

Reuters reported Jan. 23 that the FBI has warned U.S. retailers to prepare for more cyber attacks after discovering about 20 hacking cases in the past year that involved the same kind of malicious software used against Target.

 

Copyright 2014 Thomson Reuters.

B.C. law society adopts change to make legal services more affordable

Link to Original Article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-managing/leadership/bcs-law-society-adopts-change-to-make-legal-services-more-affordable/article15825083/

This is an interesting development underway that could help alleviate legal costs for many people. It just stands as a reminder of how far head LegalShield has already come. The only issue is that not many people know it exists.

By: Tony Wilson

The society’s governing body unanimously endorsed the recommendations of its Legal Service Providers Task Force, which recently concluded a study as to whether various legal services providers, including lawyers, notaries public and paralegals, should be brought under one regulatory umbrella.

This decision will have an effect on the business and business models used by providers of legal services, from sole practitioners to small law firms to large national firms. But it may also have an effect on B.C.’s notaries, paralegals and other legal and quasi-legal service providers who aren’t lawyers.

The hope is that the consumers of legal services (i.e. members of the public) will inevitably be able to obtain better access to legal services from a wider variety of legal service providers more affordably than they can now.

The Benchers of the Law Society unanimously approved three recommendations from the task force’s report. First, that the Law Society try to merge its regulatory operations with the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia so that the Law Society would become the regulator of both lawyers and notaries in the province. Unlike other provinces, notaries public in B.C. can deal with land transfers, wills and certain other legal services. Notaries must obtain a Masters of Applied Legal Studies through Simon Fraser University and undergo thorough and rigorous training and examinations before they can qualify as notaries. Conceivably, the Task Force Report would mean that B.C.’s 330 notaries public could be regulated alongside the province’s 12,000 lawyers by one common regulator.

Second, that a program be created so that the Law Society could provide paralegals who have met specific, prescribed education and training, with a certificate that would allow them to be held out as ‘certified’ paralegals.

And third, that the Law Society should develop a regulatory framework by which other existing providers of legal services, or new stand-alone organizations who are neither lawyers nor notaries, can provide approved and regulated legal services.

Access to justice is becoming too expensive and is slipping out of reach for many Canadians, forcing too many clients to represent themselves in court, and forcing others to resort to the Internet or unqualified persons for their legal advice. Numerous speeches have been made by B.C.’s leading judges about the accessibility and affordability crisis in B.C.’s courts. B.C.’s recently retired chief justice Lance Finch in 2010 said:

“Lawyers, as a profession…have a monopoly on the practice of law. However, the monopoly enjoyed by the legal profession also has the effect of constricting the supply of legal services…. While other changes aimed at increasing access to justice, including simplified court procedures, alternative dispute resolution, legal aid and multidisciplinary practices, have helped or will help to increase access to justice, consultation with a lawyer or legal advisor is still fundamental. High cost is a disincentive to obtaining legal advice. High cost discourages people from consulting lawyers early, when there may be more opportunity to avoid or minimize legal problems… No matter how much we may all wish to avoid the subject, high legal fees are an issue that must be addressed.”

From a small business perspective, startup entrepreneurs may well be avoiding the use of lawyers because of perceived high costs, potentially risking the future of their businesses. They may be obtaining corporate law advice, advice on their contracts and other legal advice from unqualified and uninsured persons or from the Internet, where a legal advice website might provide advice only based on the laws of Delaware or Ireland, and not based on the laws of the jurisdiction where the startup entrepreneur does business.

And of course, it could be bad advice as well, because we all know not everything on the Internet is correct.

Members of the Task Force studied a number of regulatory models from other jurisdictions around the world and considered trends in the provision of legal services. They issued an interim report in June 2013 and then travelled the province to meet with interested groups, also offering the opportunity for the public, lawyers, paralegals and notaries to provide commentary online.

The task force was driven by the reality that the provision of legal services is changing, and fewer people are able to afford a lawyer to assist them with their legal problems or otherwise provide legal advice. Often enough, these individuals choose not to use a lawyer, leading many litigants to represent themselves in BC’s courts. Some individuals provide services that would ordinarily be described as “legal services” under B.C.’s Legal Profession Act without being lawyers and without being regulated, creating a very uneven regulatory landscape where arguably, members of the public can be at risk through the use of unqualified and uninsured legal service providers.

However, it’s abundantly clear that other organizations and individuals who aren’t regulated are providing legal services in B.C. based on the perceived high cost of lawyers, so the issue of regulating these other service providers is of fundamental importance to the protection of the public.

The adoption of the Legal Service Providers Task Force Report is simply a first step. Among the significant work still to be done is to secure the agreement of the notaries, the agreement of the B.C. government to legislative amendments, and to work out the details of any merger agreement. Work will also need to be dedicated to determining the appropriate criteria to be met by paralegals seeking certification from the Law Society, as well as developing a regulatory framework by which other existing providers of legal services, who are neither lawyers nor notaries, could provide credentialed and regulated legal services.

Tony Wilson is a franchising, licensing and intellectual property lawyer at Boughton Law Corp. in Vancouver, he is an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU), and he is the author of two books: Manage Your Online Reputation, and Buying a Franchise in Canada. His opinions do not reflect those of the Law Society of British Columbia, SFU or any other organization.

Many people are still unaware that the cost of not having a preventative legal services plan in place is far greater than the cost of having one. Lawyers of all people understand the value of sound legal advice for making good decisions.

Waste disposal company fined $145,000 for operating unlicensed facility

Waste disposal company fined $145,000

by The Canadian Press – Story: 107098
Jan 21, 2014 / 4:16 pmss

A commercial waste disposal company has been fined $145,000 for operating an unlicensed facility in Surrey.

Provincial Court Judge Peder Gulbransen ordered Super Save Disposal Inc. to pay the money to the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District by Oct. 13.

The Metro Vancouver regional district says the Langley-based company was charged with operating a transfer station or a material recovery facility without a licence for more than 14 months, even after multiple warnings from bylaw enforcement officers.

The district says Super Save Disposal pleaded guilty to one charge, the company’s second such conviction under the bylaw.

According to court documents, a bylaw enforcement officer conducted a number of site inspections at the facility between Feb. 3, 2012 and April 9, 2013.

Metro Vancouver says an officer observed several bins stored on the site, some containing household items, construction and demolition waste, as well as salvaged materials such as metals, wood and tires.

New Canada Anti-Spam Law To Take Place July, 2014

Canada Anti-Spam law 2014
The law is broad and the penalties for non-compliance are very steep. Virtually every person and business in Canada will be affected by the law and will need to rethink how they send emails, voice mails and other telecommunications. Read through all sections.
Here are some of the highlights
  • The law prohibits any person from sending (or causing or permitting to be sent) a commercial electronic message unless the recipient expressly or implicitly consents to receiving the message.
  • The definition of “commercial electronic message” is very broad and includes any message sent by telecommunications (including e-mail, text messages, voice mail, social media communications, etc.) if the purpose of that message is to encourage participation in a commercial activity.
  • Commercial electronic messages cannot be sent without the recipients’ consent. Consent can be express or implied, and there are specific rules for how to obtain consent. There are some limited exceptions to the consent requirement.
  • All commercial electronic messages must identify the person who sent the message (and if different, the person on whose behalf it was sent); provide accurate contact information for these parties; and sent out by a mechanism through which the recipient may unsubscribe.
  • The recipient must be able to unsubscribe using the same means by which the message was sent. There are specific rules and time limits for complying with unsubscribe requests.
  • The maximum penalty for a violation of the legislation is $1,000,000 for an individual and $10,000,000 for a corporation or other business entity. These fines are imposed per violation, and a violation is defined as being separate for each day that it continues.
  • Violations under the Act create both direct and vicarious liability, and directors or officers of corporations may be personally liable for the corporation’s violations. Employers are also liable for violations committed by their employees acting within the scope of their employment.

Now that you have a brief idea of what this means, speak with your LegalShield lawyer for unlimited consultation on how this could affect your marketing strategy and future liabilities. It is easy to get side-tracked in the information age with outdated information.

Power Of Attorney

Increasing elderly population

Peoples life expectancy is increasing. On average, men and women are living 11-12 years longer compared to 40 years ago. That is the good news. However, the good news comes with a price.

One of the largest systematic efforts by the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) which attempted to discover the global spread of causes of a wide range of disease injuries and health related factors, has shown  startling results. While the rate of infectious diseases, maternal and child illness, and malnutrition are causing fewer deaths and reduced illness than two decades prior, there has been a surge in the rate of middle-aged adults either dying or suffering. Non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease are the dominant causes of death and disability worldwide.

According to a study in 2010, a quarter of the global total of deaths were a result of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is the largest risk factor for death today. It is responsible for nearly 10 million deaths and 7% of disability  followed by smoking which caused 6.3 million deaths. Alcohol comes in third and is responsible for five million deaths worldwide. It is a massive issue in eastern Europe and Latin America where it causes almost a quarter of all disease. Illness stemming from physical inactivity and a poor diet (particularly attributed to high levels of sodium and low levels of fruit consumption) were responsible for 12.5 million deaths.


Have you Appointed a Power of Attorney?

As one generation gets older, a good list of household financial responsibilities gets shifted onto the next generation. Are you aware of your responsibilities?

“Personally, … I don’t want to be [a power of] attorney any time soon,” said Krista James, national director of the Vancouver-based Canadian Centre for Elder Law.

Many of the people who have agreed to act as a power of attorney are now finding themselves in the courtroom. Many people are remarrying and going through other changes in their retirement years. It is now more rare to see an estate divided between a spouse and one set of children. More people (children and people from former relationships) are now more often at stake in the estate of the incapacitated person. This places further pressure on the power of attorney to avoid conflicts of interest.

The power of attorney has the option of creating a joint bank account to make bill payments on behalf of the incapacitated. There can be a lot of mistrust from other parties who may question or even assume theft/fraud. Though the POA might not be listed as a beneficiary in the will they could still have a right to the money.

When an elderly or incapacitated person appoints a POA that person can in a way affect the inheritance for themselves as well. It can be a good idea to corroborate with a third party such as a banker or investment adviser with a written confirmation of the incapacitated persons wishes to protect yourself and avoid confrontation from other family members.

Three types of power of attorney

Each of these functions in a slightly different way:

There are different rules and requirements for each State and Province. These rules can range from the numbers of witnesses involved and whether or not the agreements must be notorized.

Once you have your signed forms, it’s often wise to consult an attorney in your area to make sure that you have all your legal forms filled correctly. This is a crucial step that is often overlooked.

Avoiding Conservatorship or Guardianship Proceedings

If you don’t have a durable power of attorney and you become incapacitated, your relatives or other loved ones will have to ask a judge to name someone to manage your financial affairs. Depending on where you live, the person appointed to manage your finances may be called a conservator, guardian of the estate, committee, or curator.

Conservatorship or guardianship proceedings can be expensive and embarrassing. Your loved ones must ask the court to rule that you cannot take care of your own affairs — a public airing of a very private matter. Court proceedings are matters of public record; in some places, a notice may even be published in a local newspaper. And if relatives fight over who is to be the conservator or guardian, the proceedings will surely become even more disagreeable, sometimes downright nasty. All of this causes costs to mount up, especially if lawyers must be hired.

Power of Attorney If you are married

If you are still legally married your spouse will carry some authority over shared property. This is usually limited to paying bills. The selling of a home or car generally requires agreement from both sides. Not having a power of attorney can make this very difficult.

A durable power of attorney is required for a spouse to have legal authority over property owned by yourself. As you can guess, the cost of going to court to request a conservatorship or guardianship can mount up rather quickly and add further emotional trauma to the situation.

Regarding joint tenancy of property if one owner becomes incapacitated, the other has no legal authority to sell or refinance the incapacitated owner’s share.

If you don’t know anyone whom you would  trust enough to appoint as your POA with broad authority over your property and finances you should not create a durable power of attorney. While it will cost more, an alternative solution is to, with a built-in safeguard of court supervision, create a conservatorship or guardianship.You may not know your family as well as you think. Once you’ve finalized a durable power of attorney, anyone that wants to challenge the plans will be faced with a difficult task in court. If you already know that family members will challenge the document then you may want to opt for a a conservatorship or guardianship. The court will at least be there to listen to your surviving relatives fight it out.
Do you Need to Appoint a Power of Attorney?

While it is not required to appoint a power of attorney failing to do so can lead to many problems as mentioned earlier. Should you lose the capacity to make your own decisions it is up to the Guardianship List to do as they see fit. Ultimately it is their decision and not the person who you might have wanted to take that responsibility instead. Who do you want to make end of life decisions for you? Have you decided on how you would like to be treated and who you trust to carry that out? Failing to create a POA can haunt your family for the rest of their lives. There might be no way of otherwise knowing if they had made the right decisions to carry out your last wishes. Preparing for a power of attorney does not require a big financial decision. Failing to plan ahead on the other hand can. While it may be a difficult task, make a mental note to discuss this with your relatives and have something in place for each person.

If you do not have an up-to-date will, living will, power of attorney contact a representative of LegalShield. He or she will provide information of the services available to you. A free will, living will, and power of attorney (representation agreement) can be drafted for and your significant other or spouse with assistance from an attorney once you enroll as a member.

TD Canada Trust 25% Interest Car Loan

A B.C. couple are speaking out about how they feel they were misled into a 25 per cent vehicle loan from TD, which has left them paying more than double the price of their car.

Couple Trapped in a $44k Loan for a $15k Car

“We’re paying $21,000 for the loan — then $23,000 in interest,” said Angie Hauser of Kelowna. “They’re making money off of people who have no money.”

“We’ve been robbed by a bank with the help of a car dealer. I mean, that’s the only way I see it,” said her husband Enzo Gamarra.

She manages a beauty supply company and her husband is a courier. They have a four-year-old daughter.

At the time they got the loan, they said, their car had broken down beyond repair.

The Dodge Avenger the couple financed for $21,000 will end up costing them $44,000 if they don’t get a break on the loan. (CBC)

They said they had no money saved for another car, but they needed one to get to work, so financing was their only option.

“I know it’s our fault we got into it, but it’s ridiculous. It’s like rich people getting rich off the poor,” said Hauser. “It’s a way to loan-shark, legally.”

TD loans officer surprised

At first, Hauser said, the loan officer they met with at the local TD Canada Trust branch didn’t even believe the bank could charge 25 per cent interest. TD 25% interest… That is highway robbery.

“And then he went through the paperwork we had, and said ‘I can’t believe TD did a loan like this,’” she said.

Tarsem Singh Gill $40M fraudster goes back on guilty plea

The Ex-developer Gill is accused of one of the largest fraudulent real estate transaction cases in B.C. history.

Tarsem Gill, a former Vancouver property developer who admitted to a multi-million dollar fraud, was in court on Thursday trying to undo his guilty plea 12 years after the alleged fraud took place.

Tarsem Singh Gill pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in May 2013, in one of one of the largest fraudulent real estate transaction cases in B.C. history.

He admitted to scamming nearly $40 million in 107 fraudulent transactions between 2000 and 2002.

The complicated scam involved the funnelling of payments from 77 homebuyers and 30 lenders, who did not realize they were part of a pyramid scheme in which the money they paid to purchase a house would not be used to pay off the previous owner’s mortgage but instead be diverted to fund Gill’s development projects.

Gill and his lawyer Martin Wirick were charged for their roles in the scheme in 2008. Wirick, who had practised law for more than 20 years, pleaded guilty in June 2009. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In contrast, Gill has gone through six lawyers and avoided four trial dates, and finally entered a guilty plea last May.

But in court Thursday, a defence psychologist claimed Gill was severely depressed when he made his plea. Gill told the psychologist one reason for his depression was that his then-lawyer told him he had zero chance of winning.

Gill will take the stand himself later in January to explain why his guilty plea was a mistake.

A guilty plea has to be considered informed, unequivocal and voluntary. Gill will be trying to convince the court this standard was not met.

Meanwhile, Gill still works in property development. Until spring 2013, he continued as a developer, but most recently, he says he acts as a consultant.

In August 2008, Wirick and Gill were charged with two counts each of fraud and theft. Wirick was also charged with uttering forged documents and Gill with possession of stolen property.

In March 2009, Gill made his first court appearance, entering a not guilty plea with lawyer David Crossin. Three months later, Wirick pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme.

The court heard Wirick admit he had forged mortgage documents and filed the legal paperwork for homebuyers he knew had no intention of living in the properties.

He then flipped the properties and, instead of using that money to pay the initial mortgages, he left them open.

The cash was funnelled back to Gill to fund new construction projects as part of a pyramid scheme in which new mortgages would be used to pay down old mortgages.

Wirick has since been released from prison, after being sentenced to seven years for his role in the scam.

Hackers stole almost 1.6 million login credentials and 320,000 e-mail credentials.

legalservicesbc

Do not make your password simple enough to be discovered by a robot

Do not use the same password for all social media websites. If one gets hacked they can hack into the rest, take over your online identity, and damage your reputation forever.

2 million accounts were compromised on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and other social media and Internet sites have been breached, according to a Chicago-based cybersecurity firm.

The hackers stole 1.58 million website login credentials and 320,000 e-mail account credentials, among other items, the firm Trustwave reported. Included in the breaches were thefts of 318,121 passwords from Facebook, 59,549 from Yahoo, 54,437 from Google, 21,708 from Twitter and 8,490 from LinkedIn. The list also includes 7,978 from ADP, the payroll service provider. According to a Trustwave blog, “Payroll services accounts could actually have direct financial repercussions.”

The majority of passwords were from the Netherlands, followed by Thailand, Germany, Singapore, Indonesia and the United States, which accounted for 859 reports from machines and 1,943 passwords, according to Trustwave. In all, just over 100 countries were affected, and Trustwave said this shows the attack is “fairly global.”

The hacking began Oct. 21 and might still be taking place, according to CNN.

John Miller, a security research manager at Trustwave, told CNN, “We don’t have evidence they logged into these accounts, but they probably did.”

The breaches operated through software maliciously installed on computers around the world, CNN reports Trustwave said. The virus borne from the software has been sending the stolen information over to a server in the Netherlands controlled by the hackers, according to CNN.

There are several other servers Trustwave has not yet tracked down, Miller told CNN.

ADP, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter told CNN they have notified users and reset passwords for compromised accounts. Google declined to comment and Yahoo did not respond immediately, CNN reported.

In compiling the data, Trustwave also discovered that many users are doing just what computer specialists advise against – using simplistic passwords that can easily be guessed. For instance, the top five passwords Trustwave found in researching the breaches were: 123456, 123456789, 1234, password and 12345.

According to its website, Trustwave helps businesses fight computer crime, protect data and reduce security risks.

Trustwave researchers on Nov. 24 detected the server and found compromised credentials for about 100,000 websites.

If you are unsure whether or not you are a victim it is recommended that you request your 1-free credit report that you are entitled to each year.

If you would like an identity theft plan for you and your family know that Kroll Advisory Solutions is one of the best companies for the job. If you are ever a victim you just sign a temporary power of attorney to a licensed investigator and they will work until your identity is back to pre-theft status no matter how long it takes.

Do you live in Canada?

Among the stats,1,580,000 website login credentials and 320,000 email credentials were stolen from a server they tracked to the Netherlands. They first detected that server on November 24. Here are some more numbers that show the domains and number of passwords stolen from each:

  • Facebook  FB 318,121
  • Yahoo y YHOO 59,549
  • Google GOOG 54,437
  • Twitter TWTR 21,708
  • odnoklassniku.ru (Russian social network) 9,321
  • LinkedIn LNKD 8,490
  • ADP payroll service provider 7,798
  • “It is only natural to have such domains in the mix, but it is surprising to see it ranked #9 on the top domains list. Facebook accounts are a nice catch for cyber criminals, but payroll service accounts (ADP) could actually have direct financial repercussions,” said the blog.

Find out if the company you work at uses ADP as their payroll provider. Your financial accounts, background, work history, and other personal information could already be compromised.

Over 2 million accounts hacked… This is a serious issue!

Also,

Alleged Snapchat hackers explain how and why they leaked data on 4.6 million accounts

The individual or team claiming responsibility for SnapchatDB has responded to The Verge‘s requests for comment the morning after the database went online, containing a leaked collection of some 4.6 million apparent Snapchat usernames and partial phone numbers. “Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed,” they say. “Security matters as much as user experience does.”

If 1 person can hack into all of this information then chances are that all of our personal information is already in the hands of identity thieves.

SnapChat: “Over the past year we’ve implemented various safeguards to make it more difficult to do. We recently added additional counter-measures and continue to make improvements to combat spam and abuse.”

However, the hackers behind the SnapchatDB, the site that published the phone numbers, said the measures were not strong enough.

The costs of creating stronger protection against hackers is very high. It is unlikely that the software used to protect personal information at colleges and doctors offices have the level of protection as well. Cyber-crime is continuing to rise and is still the fastest growing white-collar crime in North America 14 years in a row.