October 15, 2021

Are roadside "take what you want and pay what you owe" stands doomed?

For some time now, Cropthorne Farm on B.C.’s Lower Mainland has sold eggs on the honour system. They load up a cooler with about eight dozen eggs and put it at the end of their driveway with a sign reading “$5” and a jar filled with some change in to get things rolling.

Whether it's corn or apples, honour boxes like this remain a point of pride and practicality for a number of small farmers across the country who think their time is better spent tending crops than manning a roadside stand -- and who firmly believe that most people are honest.

And it would seem that many are. Despite the hundreds of vehicles that rush by, nobody has ever stolen a single egg, lifted the cash or even shortchanged owner, farm owner Lydia Ryall says.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the norm.

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September 25, 2021

Have you ever lied to your partner about money?

According to a recent study, roughly one in five couples have deceived their partners when it comes to money. Are you among them?

Eighteen per cent of Canadians admit they've kept a secret from their partner about how much money they have spent, saved or have hidden. Thirteen per cent of females admit to secret spending, for instance, compared to only six per cent of males.

In another study, close to 20 per cent of all men and women admit the reason they hide their spending habits is because the truth would worry their partner or cause friction in their relationship.

That's nice of them, except that not being upfront about money has a lot more to do with power and control than hurt feelings. 

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September 06, 2021

If someone gave you too much change, would you tell them?

So you're at the grocery store paying for your purchases. When you get your change and count it, however, you notice that you've been given change for a higher bill than you actually used.

Do you alert the cashier and give the money back or would you think "well, it's their fault for not being more careful" and keep it?

Does it matter whether you're shopping at Loblaws or your favourite farmers market?

Well, for many people, the answer seems to be ... it depends.

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August 28, 2021

Ouch! Employee fakes illness to skip work and then gets fired

Every year, sites like Careerbuilder and Workopolis ask hiring managers and HR professionals about the wildest excuses they hear when employees call in sick. And there's no shortage of whoppers, particularly since something like 50 percent of workers admit that they call in sick when they're actually not.

No big deal? Everybody does it, right? Well, the boss is on to you.

One survey found that 29 per cent of employers say they regularly check up on an employee to verify that the illness is legitimate, usually by requiring a doctor’s note or calling the employee later in the day.

In addition, another 18 percent have had co-workers call a suspected faker, and 14 percent have even gone so far as to drive by their home for a closer look.

All in all, some 17 percent of employers say they've actually fired employees for giving a fake excuse about being sick.

And you could be next. That's what happened to an Alberta technician who asked his employer for a day off to play in a baseball tournament despite being told that he couldn't have the time off. 

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August 01, 2021

Stealing a PIN code is as easy as 1234

You work hard for your money.

So why put your finances at risk with a personal identification number (PIN) that's as easy as 1234?

A study by DataGenetics revealed that people are opening themselves up to identity theft and financial fraud by selecting four-digit PINs that are easy to crack.

When thinking of a four-digit password, many people opt for something that is simple and easy to remember such as a child's birth date, an anniversary or the year they were born.

However, there are over 10,000 possible combinations the digits 0 to 9 can be arranged to create a four-digit PIN code, according to the research.

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April 24, 2021

Homebuyers need to be on the alert for bogus claims

Most homebuyers shopping in a choppy market are taking their time. But, if you're in the minority of people who have a deadline - because of an impending birth or a new job - this environment offers both opportunities and challenges.

Some people who move too quickly are motivated by timing pressures related to relocation, while others worry they'll be living with their parents because they've sold their home a bit faster than expected.

But the bigger issue is often with stressed sellers who are simply too anxious to get out in a hurry.

When a homeowner is desperate to sell and a buyer is ready to fork over the cash, the truth about a house is often swept under the rug, experts suggest.

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April 08, 2021

Celebrity names increasingly powerful lures for scammers: report

Just like the music charts, celebrity names pop in and out of favour. Scammers know this, which is why they use the top names as lures for malware scams and identity theft.

Famous names are used for a whole host of tricks, from people actually posing as celebrities to bogus endorsements of products and events, says Scambusters.  

One of the most prevasive stunts is to use the name of a well-known figure in emails or messages on social media like Facebook and Twitter to lure victims into clicking an attachment or a link that downloads malware onto their PCs.

However, it turns out that not all celebs are equal when it comes to the popularity of their names as bait for click tricking. And, like celebrity status itself, the names change over time.

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March 28, 2021

Americans top list of illegals working in Canada: report

Following the lead of several U.S. cities, the City of Toronto recently passed a controversial 'access without fear' motion that would provide undocumented migrants access to municipal services such as food banks and homeless shelters.

The move sparked howls of protest from groups like The Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, who argue that by failing to uphold the law, Canada´s largest city has sent a message that the law doesn´t matter.

Dissenting councillor Minnan-Wong doesn't agree with the decision either, suggesting that illegals don't deserve access to government services.

“We shouldn’t encourage them. We shouldn’t help them. We should not facilitate them. They are an insult to every immigrant who plays by the rule to get into the country. They are an insult to every immigrant who is waiting to enter this country legally,” Minnan-Wong told the Toroto Star.

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March 20, 2022

Beware of testimonial and subscription scams

If it sounds too good to be true -- it probably is.

The Competition Bureau wants consumers to be aware of scams as part of its 2 Good 2 Be True campaign during Fraud Prevention Month in March.

Among the various scams out there, the Competition Bureau wants consumers to recognize false online testimonials and subscription traps on mobile devices.

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March 05, 2022

Sharing isn't always a good thing

Remember when you were little how you were always taught that it's good to share?

Oh sure, it's always polite to share your toys or cookies.

But as we get older we are now finding out that it may not be such a good thing -- especially when it comes to sharing our personal and financial information on the Internet.

A recent study by Visa Canada revealed that many Canadians are in fact "oversharing" their financial information over their computers and cellphones which could put them at a greater risk for fraud.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...