Friday, 18 May 2018

BEWARE OF  LOTTERY SCAMMERS                                                       

“You’ve won the lottery!” It’s something that many people want to hear. But sometimes those words come from scammers who are trying to steal your money. Some of those scammers have falsely identified themselves as being affiliated with Mega Millions.

No representative of Mega Millions would ever call or e-mail anyone about winning a prize. That goes for all lottery games. If you bought a lottery ticket and your numbers match the winning numbers, it is your responsibility to notify the lottery officials that you have the winning ticket.

These scams take many forms and the scammers use many tricks to get your money. The criminals may contact unsuspecting consumers by email, telephone, mobile phone, or through social media sites and tell intended victims they have won a large prize. They might identify themselves as being with Mega Millions or another legitimate lottery, even though Mega Millions like all lotteries is a game, not an organization.

These scams all have one thing in common. They try to trick you into sending them money or personal information by claiming that you have won a large lottery prize. They often target older people and have been known to wipe out the victims’ retirement savings.

If the person is fooled into thinking he or she has won a prize, the crooks usually try to get the person to wire money for “taxes” or “fees.” They may also try to get the victim to provide them with a bank account number, which they will then clean out. Another trick is to send the winner a bogus “check” and ask the winner to send money back to cover expenses. It is only after their victims have sent their own money that they discover the cheque they received was counterfeit.

On May 15th, of this year, I received a call from a man who said that he was from Mega Millions and that my name was picked out of a lottery that was sponsored by Walmart and Shopper’s World. He also said that I had won a million and a half dollars in American funds and a brand new car. He told me that he will not ask me to pay any money whatsoever.

That made me think that this was a legitimate call—that is until I began looking further into what this crook had told me.  

The head office of Walmart told me that they are not connected in anyway with Mega Millions. Further, I have never shopped at any Shopper’s World store. I initially suspected that something was fishy when the word UNKNOWN was showing up on my phone’s screen. Generally the people who have unlisted phone numbers are  deadbeats trying to hide their addresses, people who are trying to scam you out of your money and people who are calling you from their cellphones.

I called his number back (at 1-876-567-6432) and the same man answered who had called me earlier. I asked him if Mega Lottery had an office in Canada. He said that they did. He gave me an office address that is in in Langley, British Columbia. I called the police in Langley and was told by them that there is no such street in Langley.  The scammer also told me that he works out of the Mega Millions office In Las Vegas. Mega Millions which is a valid lottery has no office at all anywhere in Nevada.

This man said that there would be a representative from Mega Millions coming to my home the very next day with the certified cheque along with the new car.

The next morning I received a call from a man who said that he was the manager of the man who called me the day before. The man who called me the day before called ten minutes after his so-called manager called me. He said that he will be at my home a three in the afternoon with the cheque and a BMW-6 dark blue car.  Needless to say, he never showed up at three or any time after that hour.                                                                           

I then called 1-876-567-6432 at half-past three and a man answered the phone. He said that Mister Washington, (the man I spoke to earlier) had to return to the office to pick up some documents and that he and a lawyer would then drive to my home. He said that the new car would be on a flatbed.

He also gave me the so-called prize number (Registration number 0133800) and that my claimant number is He also told me to write down the following; Canada Winners International. He also said that his office was in Kitchener. Ontario. There is no such firm in Kitchener, Ontario.  This fool  slipped up when he gave me the same street address that the other man gave me a day earlier, the street that doesn’t exist in Langley, B.C. There is no way that the same numbered address would be in two different cities.

Mister Washington called me at ten after four to say that they have to pick up the car from the dealership and that he will call me the next morning.

Mister Washington called at ten in the following morning and he told me that he will arrive at my home between three and four in the afternoon.  

It was then that this scammer’s real motive became apparent.  He told me that I will have to pay between $700 and $900 for the delivery costs since the car will be brought to my home on a rented flatbed truck.

He had previously showed me the bait and now he was showing me the hook.

I told him not to bring the car to my home as we don’t want it. He then said that I will then be given a cheque for $80,00 instead of the car.

Now what was really interesting in my talk with him on May 17th was when he told me that my lottery prize is five million dollars in US funds. That is proof that he is a scammer because days earlier, he said that my lottery prize was one and a half million dollars including the car. This fool slipped up. He forgot that he had earlier told me that I had won a million and a half dollars.

Needless to say, no one showed up. Perhaps I scared him off when I told him that I was formerly a private investigator and that I practiced law for twenty years.  I think he originally thought that the sucker he was hoping for would bite the bait and then be reeled in but I was not a sucker but a killer whale that would grab him and gobble him up.

When I was a private investigator, I investigated a great many bank and insurance frauds and solved almost all of them so I have enough inquisitiveness in me to be extra careful when I am offered something for nothing. Alas, a great many people do not have my background and inquisitiveness so they end up being victimized by these scammers.

The strange thing about Mr. Washington's  original call was that he told me that no one would be asking for money up front and that the only thing they would ask me to do is show some form of ID to prove who I am. I told him that whoever showed up at my door, I would show that person a letter that was addressed to me by a federal minister that shows my address also.

These scammers were fishing for a sucker. Incidentally, there is a fish that is called a sucker. When this fisherman (Mr. Washington) cast his fishing line in my direction, he had a nice fat bait on the hook. It first, I didn’t see the hook. The bait was enticing however it wasn’t long before I saw the hook. (the money I would have to pay for the flatbed carrying the new car)  

When I told this crooked fisherman that I wasn’t going to pay him any money, the bait and the hook was yanked out of the water and I never heard from him again. Obviously, he is fishing elsewhere hoping to get his bait and hook into a sucker’s mouth.

These fools didn’t know that from the first day to the final day they were talking to me that I knew that they were trying to victimize me with their scam. I played them like a violin. I haven't had this much fun since the day the government ended the prohibition of alcohol.

In the morning of 19th, I received a phone call from a man (Not Mr. Washington) who told me that the car would be brought to my home on that day. I told the caller that I had been told by Mr. Washington that I would have to pay $900.00 for the delivery. The man on the phoned feigned surprise. I told him that I was convinced that the whole matter was a scam. His response was not unlike that of a dying fish at the bottom of a fisherman's pail, flopping about searching for a way out of the pail. I decided to end his misery and subsequently I hung up the phone. 

Here is what to watch for when you get a call from these scammers.

The scammers give you contradictory statements every time they talk to you.

Here is how you can spot the Mega Millions scammers.

The letter or email has poor quality and/or incorrect grammar in it.  The letter or email may be addressed to 'email holder' or 'winner' or 'reader', rather than using the victim's name.

Some mail and email scams can look authentic, as scammers illegitimately use Mega Millions branding to persuade their victims.

The victim may receive a fake blank check, which can be attached to an email or letter and the fraudster might claim that it is for 'government taxes' or 'expenses' so the victim fill it out. Now the scammers have the details of the victim’s bank account.

The correspondence sent to the victim will emphasise that they should act to claim their prize as soon as possible and urges them to keep it 'confidential'. This is to make sure that the person who received the correspondence does not seek advice from others, which may expose the scam.

The victim is asked to pay a 'processing fee' or 'tax' to be able to receive their winnings. In my case, it was the fee for the rental of the flatbed truck that would never come to my house with a new car on it.

Mega Millions scams can take five different forms:

An email is sent to the victim, letting them know that they have won a large sum of prize money and it asks them to pay 'fees' or 'taxes' if they want to receive the full prize winnings. A link to a website where prizes can be 'claimed' may also be included in the email, which could be used for 'phishing' personal information or installing spyware on the victim's computer, giving the criminal access to private information.

Similar to email scams, a mail scam will try to convince the victim that they have won a huge sum of money and that they need to mail back a portion to be able to receive the full sum.

The fraudster calls the victim to notify them that they have won a large Mega Millions prize in the hope that they will agree to paying any 'fees' or 'taxes' to release the money. Scammers often use specific area codes that look like domestic U.S. phone numbers to trick victims, including; 876 (Jamaica), 473 (Grenada) and 268 (Antigua).

Scammers may also attempt to find out the victim’s bank details in order to access their accounts illicitly.

Cell Phone
Scammers send a text message to the victim from an unknown number telling them that they have won a Mega Millions prize. To claim the prize, victims are requested to call the number back, often on a premium rate number which they will have to pay.

Social Media
The victim receives a message on their personal Facebook, Twitter or another social media platform notifying them that they have been selected to win a Mega Millions prize. They are then told to act immediately and follow a specific, often malicious, link to claim the prize.

I hope that you have found this article informative and now that I have your attention; I have some property to sell you in Florida. It is in the middle of a swamp and I can assure you that you won’t be pestered by any neighbours because there are none. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

IMMIGRANTS:  Where in Canada shall we put them?

Many of Canada’s cities are being swarmed with immigrants to the extent that eventually, they will outnumber citizens born in Canada. There is a widespread fear in many western nations that ethnic diversity is eroding support for the welfare state that we as Canadians enjoy. In this article I will point out such fears in the Canadian context.

An in-depth analysis of public attitudes currently finds very little tension between ethnic diversity and public support for social programs in Canada. At first glance, then, Canadians seem to demonstrate the political viability of a multicultural welfare state. But this pattern reflects distinctive features of the institutional context within which public attitudes evolve. But that is because so far, our policy of supporting refugees and immigrants hasn’t yet taxed the federal, provincial and communities to the point of causing financial hardships to everyone else living in Canada.

My concern is that if our country becomes overwhelmed by an influx of immigrants, the monies diverted to their support will be diverted from the monies planned for repairs to decaying  infrastructures, building more schools  and carrying for our citizens and those who have been accepted as residents and immigrants already living in Canada who are in need. This dilemma will increase the danger of greater tension between diversity and redistribution in the years to come. Already there is a widespread fear in many western nations that ethnic diversity is eroding support for the welfare of those in those countries.                                                   

Now I am aware that Canada is a very large country but unlike the United States, Canada doesn’t have as many cities and towns where immigrants can live in.

While the mathematics of population growth is simple, the dynamics behind what drives demographic changes are more complex.

In recent times, the contribution of natural increase (births) to population growth has waned as the Canadian population aged and fertility rates declined.  Today, our natural increase accounts for less than one-third of Canada's population growth and has ceased to be the major player in the equation. However, that can change if there is an enormous influx of immigrants flooding into Canada.

Meanwhile, migration does increase and for this reason, it plays an increasing role in Canada's population growth. Migratory increase currently accounts for about two-thirds of Canada's population growth. 

Statistics Canada projects that immigration will not only continue to be a key input of population growth in the coming years—without it, Canada's population growth could be close to zero in 20 years, as the population continues to age and fertility rates projected to remain below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman.

This is evidence that Immigrants are currently welcomed in Canada and for obviously good reason. The problem that Canadians must deal with however is; where should we place them?

Three periods in Canada's history were characterized by strong population growth: 1851 to 1861, 1901 to 1911, and 1941 to 1961.

First, prior to Confederation, there was strong growth during the 1851 to 1861 period of 2.86% per year, on average, when fertility levels were high and large numbers of immigrants were settling in the West.

Second, in the early 20th century, fertility was still relatively high, averaging almost five children per woman. In addition, between 1901 and 1911, more than 1.2 million immigrants to Canada—mostly from Europe—generated what was then a record migratory increase. Between 1901 and 1911, the population increased 2.98% a year on average, the highest growth on record. Further, the second factor included a steady rise in the number of deaths, partly due to population aging. As a consequence, migratory increase had taken on an increasingly important role in population growth.

Third, a period of strong population growth occurred following the Second World War (2.67% per year on average). A significant rise in fertility resulted in the post-war baby boom, which continued until the mid-1960s. Fertility rose from 2.6 children per woman in 1937 to 3.9 children in the late 1950s—a level not seen since the beginning of the century. Immigration was also particularly high during the 1950s. In 1957, for example, against the backdrop of the Hungarian Revolution and the Suez Canal crisis, Canada received more than 282,000 immigrants.

Population growth caused by natural increase began falling in the late 1960s as a result of two factors. The first was a rapid decrease in fertility in the late 1960s and 1970s, which has remained at a fairly constant level since then. By 1976, fertility had fallen to fewer than 1.8 children per woman.  In the latter 1970s, my wife gave birth to two daughters.

The late 1990s was a period of transition, with some years being characterized by higher natural increase, while in other years, migratory increase was greater.

Since 1999 and the beginning of this current century, population growth in Canada has consistently been driven mostly by the migratory increase. About two-thirds of current population growth is the result of migratory increase, while natural increase of those already in Canada accounts for the remaining one-third.

According to all scenarios used in Statistics Canada's most recent population projections, natural increase is expected to continue to decline in the future decades. This is largely the direct result of a projected increase in the number of deaths while the projected number of births would remain fairly constant.

Population aging will accelerate between 2011 and 2031. In 2026, the first of the baby boomers will reach the age of 80—an age typically associated with high mortality. As a result, the growth in the number of deaths will increase.

Based on the medium-growth scenario, migratory increase could account for more than 80% of Canada's population growth beginning in 2031. Without a sustained level of immigration, Canada's population growth could be close to zero within 20 years.

However, I am convinced that Immigrants and Refugees alike will continue be accepted into Canada.

And now to the question in the heading of this article—where shall the immigrants and refugees be placed when they are accepted to live in Canada?

The Greater Toronto Area (the largest in Canada) covers an area of 7,124 square kilometres—2,751 square miles. In that area, there is the city of Toronto and sixteen surrounding towns. From the air, the GTA looks like an enormous city. The GTA has as many as three million people living and working in it. It is bursting at the seams so to speak.  

Ethnic enclaves is a term sociologists use to describe areas with a concentration of a particular ethnic group and a cluster of commercial and institution activities that have been part of Toronto’s history ever since the presence of immigrants in Canada, though they were known by the less flattering term “ghettoes.” It is the common language, heritage, upbringing and cultural understanding (and unfortunately, sometimes racism and discrimination by others) that bring immigrants of the same background together, for comfort and support from each other. Also family ties will determine where immigrants tend to go to.

The Toronto’s Jewish immigrants started living in “The Ward” (from Queen to College Street and Yonge Street to University Avenue. Now they are primarily living north of Eglinton Avenue in the Bathurst Street area. The   Chinese congregated near Elizabeth and Hagerman Street with Greek Town setting roots on the Danforth Avenue and Little Italy on both sides of College Street. The growth of the Filipino community and emergence of Toronto’s Little Manila at Wilson Ave. and Bathurst St., a Jewish neighbourhood with many Filipino live-in caregivers, is no coincidence.

In recent years, the federal government’s stronger emphasis was on attracting skilled immigrants with a university education, language skills and temporary foreign workers such as live-in caregivers certainly favour migrants from the Philippines, which has been Canada’s top immigrant source country since 2010.

However the federal government is aware that Toronto is being over burdened with the influx of immigrants so it has been advocating regionalize immigration by encouraging newcomers to settle outside of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver (Canada’s three largest cities). The Provincial Nominee Program was set up to draw immigrants to less populated provinces. Subsequently, as to immigrants moving westward, it resulted in an increase0f immigrants moving to three of Canada’s western provinces. This amounted to double in Alberta, triple in Manitoba and increase fivefold in Saskatchewan in the last decade.

The Canadian Charter of Rights makes it clear that Canadians and those who are officially classed as residents can move in any part of Canada they choose unless a court orders otherwise.

However, immigrants aren’t initially covered by that protection so the Department of Immigration can make a determination as to where the newly arrived immigrants initially can go to live. When they become recognized as permanent residents in Canada, they can move anywhere they wish to live.

With Canada’s rural communities struggling to fill labour gaps and reverse population and economic decline, more opportunities in smaller cities and towns should be made available to newcomers who come to Canada. This way, our smaller cities and towns will enlarge without the larger cities becoming over populated.

By mixing and matching  newcomers with smaller communities and rural employers through partnerships with immigrant settlement agencies, if successful, it could be a new way for Canada to spread the benefits of immigration and ease the pressure on big cities in absorbing newcomers, which currently have  more than three-quarters of immigrants who settle in just seven Canadian cities.

Of course, if immigrants and refugees have families already in the large cities, they should be allowed to join them in those cities.

Monday, 14 May 2018

DIARRHEA: How to avoid it when you are traveling    

If when you are traveling in Mexico and you suffer from an attack of diarrhea, it is called Montezuma’s Revenge. I don’t know what other colourful names is given to it in other countries other than the Shits.

It is the condition of having at least three or more loose or liquid bowel movements each day. It often lasts for three or four days and can result in dehydration due to fluid loss. Signs of dehydration often begin with the loss of the normal stretchiness of the skin. This can progress to decreased urinationloss of skin color, a fast heart rate, and a decrease in responsiveness to get to a toilet as the attack  becomes more severe.

The most common cause of diarrhea is an infection of the intestines due to either a virusbacteria, or a parasite. It is a condition also known as gastroenteritis. These infections are often acquired from eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated by feces, or directly from another person who is infected.

Diarrhea can be prevented by improved sanitation, clean drinking water, and hand washing with soap. And this is where I raise the issue of traveling in countries where cleanliness is not always  taken seriously.

Since 1954, I have traveled in 30 countries world-wide and have only been struck with diarrhea twice during my travels in those countries.

The first attack took place in Mexico in 1969.  I had previously decided to visit a friend in a country in Central America what was then called British Honduras and its name was later changed to Belize.

I had driven my car from Toronto to Belize City which is a distance of 5,306 kilometres (3,432 miles). If I drove nonstop without any delays, it would take me three days to reach my destination. However, I spent the nights in many cities on the way there.

Montezuma’s Revenge hit me in Mexico while I was driving from the City of Campeche to the City of Chetumal on the other side of the Yucatan Peninsula.  I was about two hours from the latter city while I was driving there during the early night. I was thirsty and hungry and yes, there were stalls open on the sides of the road at that time of the night so I bought a small bottle of chocolate milk that was in a Coca Cola bottle.  How stupid could I get?

Soon after I arrived at my hotel in Chetumal, the diarrhea struck. I suffered for five days from this infliction even after I arrived in Belize City.

The second time I suffered from diarrhea was while my wife and I were traveling around Peru in 2005. I was a guest speaker at a world conference on the treatment of young offenders being held in Lima Peru.  We visited four cities in that country and in the third city, I got diarrhea. I had it real bad.

I attribute that attack to someone in one of the restaurants we ate at who didn’t wash his or her hands properly after they used the toilet and then prepared our food. My wife didn’t get it because she ate something different at whatever restaurant we went to.

Now obviously, the first attack was brought about my own stupidity but the second attack was brought about by someone’s carelessness.

Our oldest daughter and her 18-year-old daughter visited Peru in May of this year and a week later they were struck with a very serious case of diarrhea that has a long name. It is called Entamoebahistolytica. It is an anaerobic parasitic that infects humans and other primates causing amoebiasisE. histolyticais. The active trophozoite stage exists only in the host and in fresh loose feces; cysts survive outside the host in water, in soils, and on foods, especially under moist conditions on the latter. The infection can occur when a person puts anything into their mouth that has touched the feces of a person who is infected with E. histolytica and then swallows something, such as water or food that is contaminated with E. histolytica. It is estimated to infect about 50 million people worldwide.     

It is my opinion that the host of the home my daughter and her daughter stayed in had these parasites on her hands because she didn’t wash her hands after she used the toilet. Hence, the parasites ended up in their food and then into their bodies. They were hospitalized for two days.

There are four lessons that you can learn from this article. The first one is—be very careful what you eat when you are traveling in foreign countries. Second, be very careful when visiting the homes in foreign countries especially when they offer you food. And third, and most important, don’t buy food off of stalls on any street or road in a foreign country unless it is fresh fruit that you have to peel it or it is in bottles that were never opened. And finally, always bring with you on your trip a good supply of anti-diarrhea pills.

If you don’t follow these tips, you will have a real shitty vacation. Sorry, I couldn’t think of a better way to get this message to you.