Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa Happy Holidays...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What more is there to say...

Beer Sold In Ontario Retail Stores Here Is The List On A Map

Beer Sold In Ontario Retail Stores Here Is The List On A Map

Tax Scammers stealing millions... the next victim of the CRA scam

“Dear Ellen, I am the next victim of the CRA scam,” the man’s email said. “If it is of your interest, we can talk. Maybe you will be able to protect others.”
“Did you actually pay money to the fraudulent CRA people?” I asked.
“I have sent them over $60,000,” the man replied.
Canadians are receiving a deluge of calls from fake Canada Revenue Agency collectors, warning that police would show up to arrest them, after an audit showed they had a whopping tax bill to pay.
The scam, which has circulated since January 2014, involves not just fraud but harassment.
“You feel very threatened and frightful. The callers don’t give you time to think,” says Jeffrey Thomson, a spokesman for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
The non-profit centre, a clearing house for fraud intelligence, says the callers are extremely aggressive in a way that does not represent Canada or the way that government agencies do business.
So, why do victims fall for the pitch? Here’s the story of one CRA scam victim, who wants to share information without using his name.
A 56-year-old born in Russia, the man has lived in Canada for 20 years and works as a consultant. One day last month, he received a recorded phone message telling him to call a toll-free number immediately or face arrest for tax evasion.
“Stupidly, I called back. I use a chartered accountant to file my taxes and I thought there could be a problem. I had no doubt I was dealing with the CRA,” he told me.
He might have resisted the shakedown if he were single.
But he felt vulnerable after recently bringing his new wife — who speaks no English — and 3-year-old daughter to Canada. “They pushed me very hard. They called every five minutes. They said if I wouldn’t co-operate with them, I would be arrested. My accounts would be frozen. My family wouldn’t survive.”

A few things made him suspicious. The callers had English names but spoke with Indian accents. He heard many voices in the background, also with Indian accents, telling people to do the things he was being told to do.
He was instructed to send money to the United States, using Money Gram to wire up to $3,000 (U.S.) at a time to named individuals at post office box numbers across the country.
Why the U.S.? His case was already in the courts and had been transferred to a U.S. collection office, he was told.
And he had to send the money in batches MoneyGram’s daily limits.term, weeks closed.
His friends helped out with short-term, interest-free loans. A few weeks later, he learned his case was closed. Then the scammers made a mistake. They asked for more money.
“I was told to deposit three years’ worth of income taxes in advanceand send an extra $57,000 to the U.S.” he said of the second demand.
“But I couldn’t do it again without putting a second mortgage on the house.”
This tipped him off to the fact that he had been played by criminals. He did some online research and contacted me after seeing my two recent columns about the CRA scam (on Oct. 24 and Oct. 31).
“I know the money is all gone. It’s a big deal, but I have a good job and I can get over it. I was lucky I didn’t send any more money at a critical moment,” he said. “Now I know how common this scam is. Many people are in the same boat.”
He filed a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, offering to use information he had to catch the fraudsters, but was turned down.
The scammers operate from all over the world, using computer phone technology and caller ID spoofing to cover their tracks, Thomson says. Investigations into such scams pose challenges, such as gathering evidence in foreign countries and extraditing criminals to Canada.
The anti-fraud centre did share details of the man’s complaint with police and government agencies — especially the convoluted payment scheme, which shows that Canadian banks are making it harder to send money to U.S. banks through wire transfers. Here is what I want to know: Why is the CRA scam still news after two years of persistent calls to potential victims?
Why haven’t we seen major public awareness campaigns about this menace to public safety?
Why can’t the government protect us from pretenders using its name to shake down vulnerable people?

Its Money For Jehovah- Right Keep Believing In The Lies

Religious group is leaving its Watchtower headquarters for town north of the city

NEW YORK— The Jehovah’s Witnesses, the door-knocking religious group that’s been based in Brooklyn for a century, is selling its headquarters and other properties for an expected price tag of $1 billion (U.S.) or more.

The Witnesses’ move to a town about an hour north of New York City will likely mean the end of the complex’s most well-known feature, the neon “Watchtower” sign advertising the church’s flagship publication.
But it will free up hundreds of thousands of square feet for businesses and apartments in a now-trendy neighbourhood at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.
“It’s going to be incredibly transformative,” said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Improvement District, a business group.
Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman Richard Devine said the move will allow the organization to operate more efficiently. The church had owned 36 separate Brooklyn properties before it began selling them off in preparation for the move upstate to Warwick, N.Y.
The printing plant where the Witnesses produce Bibles and religious tracts moved from Brooklyn to the town of Wallkill, N.Y., in 2004.
“As we’ve grown as an organization we’ve had to buy scattered properties wherever we could find them,” Devine said. “With a big, scattered campus like that it’s challenging to administer and to maintain.”
The Witnesses bought their 68,100sq. metre headquarters from Squibb Pharmaceuticals for $3 million in 1969. It was placed on the market this month along with a nearby apartment building and a12,540-sq. metre lot.
Despite the prominent “Watchtower” sign, the building has no historical designations that would place restrictions on the buyer.
The church has not announced an asking price but Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, called $1 billion “a conservative estimate” for the Witnesses’ real estate portfolio.
A partnership including Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner purchased a nearby 130,000-sq. metre complex from the Witnesses in 2013 for $375 million and is developing it as a tech hub, while smaller buildings have sold for varying amounts.
In upstate New York, the Witnesses have purchased hotels and other properties for volunteers building the church’s new headquarters. The Witnesses have more than eight million active members worldwide and about 11 million more who attend some services, according to church officials.
Witnesses are required to spread their message door to door and are not allowed to vote, receive blood transfusions or serve in the military.
The organization has been in Brooklyn since 1908, but seems culturally distinct from its gritty-meets-yuppie surroundings.
Devine said 100,000 people a year visit the Brooklyn headquarters but the Warwick facility an hour north of the city will get more visitors when it opens in 2017.
“To be honest with you,” he said, “many people find New York City intimidating.”
Sica said she is looking forward to the Witnesses’ move in part because the church’s properties seem offlimits to non-members, with fencedin parking lots and no street-level retail.
“It’s closed off,” she said. “You get that sense of ‘This place is not for the public.’ ”
But both Sica and Reed said that before they leave, the Witnesses should follow through on a promise to redevelop a neighbourhood park, which they agreed to do in exchange for a zoning change.
Devine said the Witnesses will fulfil the commitment to build the park “either through our efforts or through the efforts of the new owner. We won’t walk away from it.”

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