Total New Brunswick complaints: 163Total New Brunswick victims: 12Total loss: $22,513
Recognize it: Victims are pressured into handing over their money to scam artists to avoid a penalty or get back something that was stolen. A popular version of this scam involves the scammer pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or other government departments. The scammer threatens to arrest or deport the victim if they do not immediately pay back taxes or fees. To reduce the chances someone may recognize the scam and warn the victim, scammers often request payment using a money transfer service (like Western Union), a cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin) or a gift card (like an iTunes gift card). If you receive this scam – take a moment to think critically. Does it make sense for the Canada Revenue Agency to ask for Bitcoins? If there’s still doubt - the CRA has stated they do not, and will not accept Bitcoin as payment.
Businesses are also targeted by extortion scams. Often these scams use ransomware, a harmful computer program that holds a business’s data on a computer hostage. Scammers threaten to publish or block access to the data until the victim pays a fee.
Protect Yourself: Legitimate organizations like the CRA do not demand payment through money transfer services, gift cards or other payment methods that cannot be traced. If you receive this type of request, delete the email or text, or hang up the phone and contact the company directly if you have a concern.
Be cautious of free downloads, such as games, movies and software. Often these free downloads are Trojan Horses, harmful software that is disguised as a legitimate program.
Report it: Report extortion scams to your local police service.
Learn more about protecting yourself and your loved ones from fraud:
Personal information stolen: The financial loss comes after the fact if the information is used.
Recognize it: Scam artists send phishing emails to trick you into sharing personal information, like your PIN, credit card numbers and passwords. These email messages are designed to look like they are being sent by a real organization, like a bank, government department, or online store. They have links to fake web pages that look like the real sites. Often scammers will claim that your account has been hacked and you need to follow a link to change your password. But your account was never really in danger. The link will take you to a fake website that captures your personal information.
Protect yourself: Don’t reply to the email or click on a link if you do not recognize the sender. If you have business with the company, then contact the company directly and ask if they sent you the link.
Are you a parent looking forward to spending the March break with your children – but dread the toll it will take on your wallet? You’re not alone. According to a 2017 poll by BDO Canada, 79 per cent of Canadian parents expect to drop an average of $597 on activities to entertain their children during the week. Many of them anticipate going into debt for it as well.
But it doesn’t have to be this way – or at least, not on this scale. By any measure, $597 can go a long way whether it pays for groceries or mortgage payments. There are lots of things you can consider doing to entertain your children for free!
We’ve come up with five ideas to help you fill the time.
No matter where you are, there are bound to be local parks you can explore for free. Take the kids on a trail walk where they can spot wildlife, get some exercise and enjoy some fresh air.
Look for local events that have no admission fee. Maybe there’s a cultural festival going on, or the library or museum is putting on an event where children can learn something new, or the local adventure club is hosting a free nature walk. Some shopping malls even put on free children’s entertainment, like magic shows and bouncy castles, to entice shoppers. Social media can be a great place to research these events. Use your imagination and maybe you’ll stumble upon a new family hobby!
Some entertainment venues offer “kids play free” days. Think bowling alleys, swimming pools, or recreation centres.
Volunteer! What better way to spend some family time than by giving back to the community? This is a great opportunity to get the kids thinking about the causes that matter to them and what they can do to help.
Free skates. Most municipalities offer an hour of ice time several times a week at the local arena. Check their website or give their recreation depart ment a call to get times.
Have more ideas? Share them with us in the comments!
This tax season, here’s what you should you know about RRSPs
Many people see tax season as an investment opportunity. If you’re planning to put money into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), the time to act is now. March 1 marks the deadline for RRSP contributions.
If you want to know more about RRSPs, you’re in luck! Whether you’re contributing to it before or after March 1, we’ve got plenty of resources to help you when it comes to making your investment decisions.
To make it easy, we’ve rounded up all our blog posts about RRSPs!
How an FCNB staffer managed a (mostly) cost-neutral holiday
We know, we know. Some of you might just be getting over your holiday hangover – and you don’t want to think about it anymore! But what you might not know is that NOW is the best time to start planning for next December.
If you’re still feeling the December 25th pinch, you’re not alone. A survey by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) found that half of Canadians expected to go over their holiday budget. It also found 59 per cent of Canadians expected to use credit cards to make up for budget shortfalls – even though most agreed that holiday spending is out of control and that they would rather save money. It doesn’t have to be this way!
That’s why one FCNB staffer’s attempt at a cost-neutral holiday really got our attention. In past holidays, Erin loved to give her kids experiences rather than things as gifts – ski hill passes, for example. This year, she wanted to do something a little different, but without cluttering the house with more stuff that would end up gathering dust in a closet.
Now, “cost-neutral” isn’t totally accurate, since Erin did wind up spending around $300 on gifts for her three kids. But for a first attempt – and compared to the usual staggering spend by parents during the holidays – we would say it’s a pretty good start.
So how does it work? Here’s her step-by-step:
Do some decluttering around the house and donate or sell the things you don’t use that are in good condition. This could include cell phones, sports equipment, toys, video games, clothes –you name it.
Base your holiday budget on whatever money you made selling these items. This is where self-control can really pay off. “In the past, my kids would often have a wish list of just one or two items that they really wanted, but I would always feel compelled to give them more gifts on top of that,” Erin said. “But when I was decluttering, those extra gifts ended up being the ones we sold or donated because they weren’t being used. It was a real eye opener for me.”
And that’s all there is to it!
Now, this method won’t necessarily work for everyone, and that’s okay. There are lots of ways to prepare for the holidays to avoid a pile of debt that follows you around long after Santa’s gone back to the North Pole. Check out our video below for more ideas!