Community News

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is a penny saved still a penny earned?

When the Harper government announced earlier this year that it was phasing out the penny, it raised the question of what Canadians should do with all those pennies they have in jars and drawers.
Earlier this summer Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that the Royal Canadian Mint will officially no longer circulate pennies as of February 13, 2013. The government is eliminating the penny due to rising cost of producing the coin and the handling costs it imposes on retailers, financial institutions and the economy in general. It’s been estimated that eliminating the penny will save taxpayers $11 million a year.
For those sitting on a pile of saved pennies, it will retain its value indefinitely and can continue to be used in payments, although cash transactions will soon be rounded to the nearest five-cent increment. Electronic transactions, such as those with credit and debit cards, as well as cheques, will not need to be rounded.
The government says the February 13, 2013 transition date will allow businesses to train staff and will also allow charities to hold dedicated ‘penny drive’ campaigns.

Little Black Book of Scams offers tips to avoid fraudsters

The Competition Bureau of Canada recently published a handy compendium of some of the most popular types of scams people fall victim to. Called The Little Black Book of Scams, it is designed to help people avoid becoming victims of fraud and includes descriptions of the most popular scams and ways you can protect yourself from them. Among the types of scams the book covers are: internet scams, mobile phone scams, charity scams and pyramid schemes.

Compromised computer? Clean it before heading online again

Having your home computer hacked is something no one wants to experience, but unfortunately it does happen from time to time. If your computer has been compromised, there are certain things you should do before venturing online with it again. This is particularly important before you conduct any online banking. Included below are several steps you should take to ensure your computer is safe to take online again:
1.      Change your passwords to all financial or other critical sites immediately (and frequently) using a safe computer not normally used to conduct banking activities. Using a different computer minimizes, if not eliminates, the chances of the fraudsters gaining the newly updated password information.
2.      Stop accessing financial sites from the compromised computer until:
a)      You’ve reported this to police (as it is fraud); and
b)      You’ve taken steps to clean the PC that was compromised, as recommended below:
                                                        i.            Have a software firm ‘clean’ the computer to ensure that it is free of all unauthorized programs.
                                                      ii.            Have the software firm confirm that all virus protection and firewall software is updated to its most recent version.
                                                    iii.            Have the software firm report in writing all unauthorized software found, the action taken and that the virus protection software is current and up to date.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Planning an outdoor trip this fall? Stay safe with these tips

Are you thinking about taking an outdoor adventure this fall? If so, it’s probably a good idea to plan ahead. While the outdoors can be fun and exciting, Search and Rescue Manitoba (SARMAN) recently reminded Manitobans that one wrong turn or accidental fall can turn an outdoor adventure into a nightmarish ordeal.
SARMAN recommends the following tips before any outdoor adventures:
·         be prepared for anything when travelling outdoors;
·         check weather forecasts;
·         always travel with a friend;
·         complete a trip plan and share it with someone so they know when you'll be back;
·         learn to use a compass and map; and
·         stay sober.
In addition to those tips, SARMAN suggests always travel with safety equipment such as:
·         a flashlight and extra batteries;
·         extra food and water;
·         warm clothing, proper footwear and rain gear;
·         a first-aid kit, sun protection and bug spray;
·         a pocket knife and large orange plastic bag;
·         a whistle and waterproof matches;
·         a tarp; and
·         a signaling device.
By taking these precautions, you can have a safe and enjoyable time in Manitoba’s fantastic outdoors.

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