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RCMP Warn Of Interac Refund Email Scam

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Whether it’s an unwanted phone call or email, it’s hard to avoid encounters with potential scammers in today’s world. With this in mind, RCMP in Stettler say there’s another scam people should be aware of. It’s called the Interac Refund Email Scam. Here’s the information Mounties are providing at this point:

“Stettler RCMP has become aware of a ‘new’ scam involving personal email. A recipient will receive an email that will appear to come directly from Interac advising of a refund owed back to the recipient and provide a deadline to receive the money.
It is recommended that if you’re not expecting any type of money transfer via Interac E-Transfer to do the following:
  • Contact the ‘refunder’ directly through another medium (ie. phone, a different email account or attend in person if possible)
  • Do not open any attachments in the email
  • Do not click any links attached to the email
  • Do not provide any personal details via email in a response
Although there are a variety of scams targeting people via email/regular mail/phone, the following are some commonalities to be aware of:
  • They often involve a sense of urgency (ie. a deadline, an emergency or expiration date). This is intended to get the victim to act without thinking things through or conducing their own research into the subject matter.
  • It is often disguised as something legitimate, but will vary from how the legitimate institute typically operates. (ie. An email scam stating that CRA is sending the police to collect on an outstanding tax bill – the police don’t act in this capacity and CRA sends their correspondence through the mail, not email).
  • The item being offered seems too good to be true. (ie. The Stars Lottery email scam where the victim is told they’ve won a significant prize but needs to pay in order to receive it).”

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ZZ Top: Bearded bassist Dusty Hill dies in his sleep at 72

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HOUSTON (AP) — ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, one of the Texas blues trio’s bearded figures, died at his Houston home, the band announced Wednesday on Facebook. He was 72.

In their post, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard said Hill died in his sleep. They didn’t give a cause of death, but a July 21 post on the band’s website said Hill was “on a short detour back to Texas, to address a hip issue.”

At that time, the band said its longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, would fill in on bass, slide guitar and harmonica.

Born Joe Michael Hill in Dallas, he, Gibbons and Beard formed ZZ Top in Houston in the late 1970s.

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Access requester told to wait five years for public health agency head’s email, texts

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OTTAWA — A requester seeking access to a week’s worth of emails and messages from the head of a federal agency embroiled in controversy has been told to wait five years or more for a response under Canada’s information law.

The applicant recently asked the Public Health Agency of Canada for emails, texts and messages that president Iain Stewart had sent or received from June 14 to 21.

The Access to Information request was prompted by curiosity about Stewart’s refusal to provide a House of Commons committee with unredacted documents about the firing of two scientists, which touched off a battle with Speaker Anthony Rota.

The Canadian Press granted the requester anonymity because they are concerned about the possible implications of publicity for their employment as an Ontario public servant.

Under federal access law, agencies are supposed to answer requests within 30 days or provide reasons why more time is needed.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently informed the applicant that an extension of up to 1,950 days — over five years and four months — would be required. It said the request involves a large number of records, the original time limit would unduly interfere with agency operations and another government institution must be consulted.

The Public Health Agency had no immediate further comment.

The requester and experts in freedom of information said the lengthy extension defeats the purpose of the access law.

“Transparency is only a lame catchphrase,” said the applicant, accusing the agency of obstructing access to the records.

“Justice delayed is justice denied.”

The requester has complained to the federal information commissioner — an ombudsman for users of the law — in the hope she will remedy the delay.

“She has the chance to take bold action and finally hold federal bureaucrats to account — especially on such a pressing issue of public interest.”

Fred Vallance-Jones, an asssociate professor of journalism at University of King’s College in Halifax, said the extension amounts to “something like eight months of additional time for each single day of messages, which seems absurd on its surface.”

“It’s important to note that Stewart is a very senior official, and there is every expectation that his communications would be preserved and accessible,” Vallance-Jones said.

“Access to information loses any meaning if information cannot be retrieved in a reasonable amount of time and I think that is doubly true for people at this level who should be able to anticipate such requests.”

When Sean Holman, who studies the history of freedom of information, first saw the extension notice, he thought: “This must be a joke.”

“This is nothing but delaying access to effectively deny access and another example of how the Trudeau government has broken the Liberals’ election promise to be open by default,” said Holman, a journalism professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

The latest extension comes shortly after New Democrat MP Charlie Angus learned it could take the Justice Department more than six years to process his request for documents related to a new regulator that will handle child pornography and exploitative material.

The federal government is currently reviewing the Access to Information Act and how it is administered.

In a submission to the review, the group World Press Freedom Canada said federal institutions have little incentive to abide by reasonable time-frames.

“There is no clear limit to the length of extensions they can unilaterally invoke, and blowing past deadlines has no material consequences. The playing field is tilted in their favour.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2021.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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