Protect Yourself from Scams and Fraud
Scammers and fraudsters are taking advantage of people’s fears and anxiety over COVID-19. These scams can take many forms, including text messages, phone calls, or emails. They may claim to be a government agency, healthcare provider, or research company, and may offer help applying for CERB, tests for COVID-19, cures/treatments or free face masks, even special cleaning services. There are ways you can protect yourself from these scams, however.
Below is some advice from the Government of Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre on how to protect yourself:
- Don’t be afraid to say no
- Request the information in writing
- Hang up
- Watch out for urgent pleas that play on your emotions
- Do your research
- Verify Canadian charities with the Canada Revenue Agency
- Verify collection agencies with the appropriate provincial agency
- Look online for contact information for the company that supposedly called you, and call them to confirm
- Verify any calls with your credit card company by calling the phone number on the back of your credit card
- Don’t give out personal information
- Your name, address, birth date, or Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Your credit card or banking information
- Beware of upfront fees
- There are no prize fees or taxes in Canada. If you won it, it’s free
- Protect your computer
- Never give anyone remote access to your computer. If you are having problems with your system, bring it to a local technician
If you have been the victim of a scam or fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone: 1-888-495-8501 (toll free).
Visit the Anti-Fraud Centre website for more information:
Brightside’s Administration Team (the “A-Team!”) brings you some helpful “house-hacks” to make your life easier. These simple household tips and tricks are things you can do with items you probably already have around your home. Below are some of their favourites!
Handy House Hacks
- No-slip Cutting Board
Most cutting boards do not come with any kind of rubber surface on the bottom to prevent them from sliding on a countertop, but with a couple of rubber bands, you can stabilize your cutting board and keep it from moving around during use. Slip on two rubber bands – one on each end of the cutting board – and you are good to go. Make sure that the rubber bands lay flat and are not twisted when you put them on, so the board will sit steady on your countertop.
- Venetian Blind-Cleaner
Use towel-wrapped tongs to clean your blinds: Having a hard time getting all the dust off your blinds? Wrap dish towels around either side of a pair of tongs and secure them with rubber bands, and voila, you have got your very own DIY duster. You will have dust-free blinds in seconds!
- Mouthwash Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Clean your toilet bowl with mouthwash: When your toilet bowl is in dire need of a good clean, grab your mouthwash instead of heading to the store to pick up yet another expensive and unnecessary cleaning product. Simply pour a cap-full of the stuff into your toilet bowl and let it sit for half an hour. When you are ready to give the bowl a scrub, any grime will come off easily.
- Cleaning a Scorched Pan
Baking soda can help when it comes to scorched pans. If you have stainless steel or enameled bakeware, this method will work like magic. Mix equal parts baking soda and warm water to make a cleaning paste, and then scrub the mixture into the burned areas to clean. Then rinse with water and repeat if needed.
- Newspaper Trash-bin Liner
Putting old newspapers at the bottom of garbage bin: By placing old newspapers at the bottom of your garbage bin will help absorb food juices. A great way to reuse old newspapers or flyers.
Brightside welcomes a new addition to the Team
It has been an exciting season of growth for Brightside, and that includes the Brightside team. We are excited to introduce Lilian Chau to the Brightside team as our new Director of Community Real Estate.
Lilian comes to Brightside from Vancity Credit Union, where she was the Community Investment Portfolio Manager supporting not-for-profits in the development of affordable rental housing. Lilian is a professional urban planner with extensive experience in community engagement, development and the affordable housing sector. She previously worked with the Port of Vancouver, City of Surrey and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Lilian currently sits on the board of Hiyám ta Sḵwxwú7mesh Housing Society, the Squamish Nation Housing Society. In her spare time she loves to bake and bike around the City.
Lilian brings you a recipe for some chocolate cake that tastes “just like McCain’s Deep ‘n’ Delicious,” because who doesn’t love chocolate cake?!
Recipe: Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder sifted
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1 cup hot water (or substitute with 1 cup hot coffee)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 F, grease two 8″ round baking pans (or one 9” x 13” rectangular pan) and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms with parchment
2. Place all dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted preferably with a paddle attachment. Stir to combine. (You can use a hand-mixer as well.)
3. In a medium bowl whisk all wet ingredients (pour hot water in slowly as not to cook the eggs).
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix on medium for 2-3 mins. Batter will be very thin.
5. Pour evenly into prepared pans.
6. Bake for 45 mins or until a cake tester (like a toothpick) comes out mostly clean.
7. Cool 10 minutes in the pans then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.