Misinformation abounds during the COVID-19 crisis, and scammers never rest either. For them, this is just one more opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting targets, especially elderly victims who may be more trusting.
With March being Fraud Prevention Month in B.C., Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers warns not only do the usual financial scams, cyber-fraud, fake CRA phone calls and other crimes remain all around us, they’re joined this year by coronavirus scams.
The Canadian Fraud Centre is maintaining a national running list of COVID-19 scams which so far includes:
- Duct cleaning companies offering services or “special” filters to protect from COVID-19.
- Utilility companies threatening to disconnect power for non-payment.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the World Health Organization (WHO) selling fake
- lists of COVID-19 infected people living near you.
- Offers of fake COVID-19 tests, which are only administered by health authorities.
- Public Health Agency of Canada allegedly asking for your health card and credit card numbers for a COVID-19 prescription.
- Charities like the Red Cross offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation.
- People selling household decontamination services door to door.
“Fraud is as much a crime as any other, yet only five per cent of the tips Crime Stoppers receives relate to fraudulent crime,” says Linda Annis, Executive Director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers. “Fraud costs Canadians millions of dollars and criminals shouldn’t get away with it. If you call us and pass on information on a fraudulent crime, we guarantee you will be totally anonymous, never go to court and could be eligible for a cash reward.”
Additional warnings have also been issued by international agencies including INTERPOL. Some examples:
- Fake shops, websites, social media accounts and email addresses – offers of masks and other medical supplies for sale have sprung up online. Unsuspecting victims who order from fraudulent ones never get their goods and see their money disappear.
- Impersonating legitimate companies – using similar names, websites, email addresses and messages on social media platforms. This includes the World Health Organization (WHO) which has issued a warning of its own.
- Fake charity appeals – attempts to get the recipient’s money allegedly to fund vaccine for children in China. There is no vaccine yet for the novel coronavirus.
- Telephone fraud – Interpol says criminals may call pretending to be clinic or hospital officials and claim that a relative of the victim has the virus and needs money for medical treatment.
- Phishing – emails claiming to be from national or global health authorities ask victims to provide financial details, or open an attachment containing malware.
An Ounce of Prevention – here are some additional tips from Interpol for those shopping online:
- Be wary of unsolicited emails offering medical equipment or requesting your personal information for medical checks. Legitimate health authorities do not contact the general public in this manner.
- Be aware of bogus websites – criminals will often use a web address which looks almost identical to a legitimate one, e.g. “abc.org” instead of “abc.com“.
- Check out online reviews of a company before making a purchase.
- Be wary if asked to make a payment to a bank account located in a different country than where the company is located.
- If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, alert your bank immediately so the payment can be stopped.
About Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers
Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is a non-profit society and registered charity that offers rewards for anonymous tip information about criminal activity and provides it to investigators in the communities of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Anonymous tips may be provided though Crime Stoppers’ downloadable “P3″ app for Apple and Android phones, calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online at solvecrime.ca, or by following the link on the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Facebook page. Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers accepts tips in 115 different languages and will pay a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of a criminal, recovery of stolen property, seizure of illegal drugs or guns or denial of a fraudulent insurance claim. Tipsters stay anonymous by using code numbers to check back later and collect their rewards.
UBC is building a new three-acre campus near Surrey Memorial Hospital
The University of British Columbia (UBC) has acquired a $70-million property close to Surrey Memorial Hospital for a new three-acre campus.
The new Surrey UBC campus will sit at the intersection of King George Boulevard and Fraser Highway, a 135,000-square-foot plot of land which is currently the Grace Hanin Community Church. This is an ideal location for the post-secondary institution given it is close to SkyTrain and Surrey Memorial Hospital.
UBC has a very strong representation of the Fraser Valley. There are nearly 3,500 students, 750 faculty and staff, and thousands of alumni who live in Surrey.
In addition, with a strong grip on health education, more than 4,900 health student and medical resident rotations take place in hospitals, primary care settings and clinics across the Fraser Valley.
“This is an excellent investment by UBC and will help thousands of students from Surrey and south of the Fraser get access to valuable post-secondary education in an accessible and transit-friendly location,” says Randeep Sarai, MP for Surrey Centre.
UBC’s strategic plan includes developing its presence regionally as well as improving access to post-secondary education in the Fraser region.
“We look forward to working with the City of Surrey, Fraser Health, First Nations Health Authority and regional partners to uncover the many exciting possibilities that this new project holds for the Surrey community and Fraser Valley, as well as UBC students, faculty and staff,” says Santa J. Ono, UBC President and Vice-Chancellor.
Consultations with UBC and the Surrey and Fraser Valley communities will begin next year.
Surrey City Centre SkyTrain Extension Delayed
If you weren’t aware, there is an extension planned for the Expo line SkyTrain along Fraser Highway from King George Station in Surrey City Centre to Langley Centre.
This expansion would be 16 kilometres in length. It was originally planned to be completed in 2025, however residents will have to wait longer — three full years in fact — as the extension is now expected to be completed in 2028.
Why The Delay?
TransLink planned to complete the first 7 km of the expansion from funding that has now been cancelled. This $1.6 billion of funding was needed to reach the 2025 completion date. Additionally, the original date was pending a business case approval that was scheduled for the summer of 2020. Since neither happened, procurement of a contractor did not occur.
A contractor should have been procured by early 2021 to start construction early 2022. Hence the delays.
To give some scope, the entire project is estimated to be a $3.96 billion cost. Earlier this summer, the federal government announced $1.3 billion to help move the project along. This funding has not yet been formalized. The remaining $2.65 billion would be committed by the provincial government and TransLink.
Worth The Wait?
By 2028, the Expo and Millennium lines will grow to a combined fleet size of 427 cars. Specifically there will be 30 additional cars to serve the Surrey-Langley Extension.
The Surrey City Centre to Langley SkyTrain extension will increase the size of the network by 24%, it will be growing from 66 km to 82 km. This will add 8 new stations into the network from Surrey to Langley.
This means that, when open, there will be a capacity of 6,800 passengers per hour per direction. It also allows for room for growth, so the system can grow with the population and need. When the expansion is complete, its capacity will be more than 10 times the existing bus services along Fraser Highway.
Commuting time will also be cut down. The new travel time of the extended Expo line is expected to be 25 minutes faster than the existing buses. It will also serve those coming into Surrey. With no transfers, getting from Waterfront station in downtown to 166 Street Station in Fleetwood will take under an hour.
The Future is Bright
Once complete the extension will allow for easier access into Surrey Centre and Langley. Ridership is expected to grow in the area, even suggesting that there may be 62,000 daily passengers by the year 2035.
Needless to say, Surrey Centre in coming years will be getting more traffic without the traffic congestion.
Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers’ Top 10 “Least-Wanted Valentines” For 2021
ACTUALLY, IT’S NOT SO GREAT BEING “WANTED” ON VALENTINE’S DAY
HERE ARE METRO VANCOUVER CRIME STOPPERS’ TOP 10 “LEAST-WANTED VALENTINES” FOR 2021
Rewards up to $100,000 are offered for some of BC’s most wanted fugitives
VANCOUVER, B.C.: From the files at Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, here’s our annual list of the top 10 “most wanted” criminals and suspects who remain on the lam this Valentine’s Day. They could be far away, or in your neighbourhood.
(See below list of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers’ 10 Least Wanted Valentines. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of these individuals is asked to please contact Crime Stoppers anonymously. Your anonymity is guaranteed by the Supreme Court of Canada. You’ll never be questioned or called to testify.)
Tips to Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and charge of any wanted criminal can lead to a reward of up to $5,000. For three of this year’s most wanted, Crime Stoppers has partnered with the national BOLO (Be On the Look Out) Program to make available extra large rewards of $50,000 to $100,000.
“Some of these fugitives have been missing a year or even longer, and with four million pairs of eyes around the province, someone should eventually spot one of them,” says Linda Annis, Executive Director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.
“Tips work. We received more than 5,000 anonymous tips in 2020 leading to 72 arrests and 135 charges laid. 21 off those arrests came from tips specifically about gang or illegal gun activity.”
Conor D’MONTE | WANTED FOR MURDER
$100,000 reward offered by Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers and BOLO Program
AGE: 43 , Height: 6’1” (185cm) , Weight: 201lbs (91kg) , Hair: Black , Eyes: Brown
Marks: Asian characters tattoo on right shoulder, “Conrock” tattoo on left shoulder, tiger & dragon tattoo on left upper back, left eye piercing
John Norman MACKENZIE | WANTED FOR BEING UNLAWFULLY AT LARGE
$50,000 reward offered by Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers and BOLO Program
AGE: 60 , Height: 5’9” (175cm) , Weight: 196lbs (89kg) , Hair: Gray/Brown , Eyes: Blue
Cong DINH | WANTED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
$50,000 reward offered by Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers and BOLO Program
AGE: 34 , Height: 5’6” (168cm) , Weight: 132lbs (60kg) , Hair: Black , Eyes: Brown
Ryan EASTON | WANTED FOR ASSAULT, POSSESSION OF A WEAPON FOR DANGEROUS PURPOSE, BREACH OF RELEASE ORDER
AGE: 44 , Height: 5’44” (180cm) , Weight: 175lbs (79kg) , Hair: Brown-Gray , Eyes: Brown
Naseem MOHAMMED | WANTED FOR BEING UNLAWFULLY AT LARGE, RESISTING/OBSTRUCTING POLICE/BREACH OF RELEASE ORDER, DRIVING WHILE PROHIBITED
AGE: 22 , Height: 5’5” (165cm) , Weight: 122lbs (55kg) , Hair: Black , Eyes: Brown
Jeremy David MORGAN | WANTED FOR ROBBERY, USE OF AN IMITATION FIREARM TO COMMIT A CRIME, POSSESSION OF A LOADED RESTRICTED FIREARM, BREACH OF PROBATION.
AGE: 33 , Height: 6’1” (185cm) , Weight: 170lbs (77kg) , Hair: Brown , Eyes: Blue
Roderick MUCHIKEKWANAPE | WANTED FOR FIRST DEGREE MURDER
AGE: 42 , Height: 6’0” (182cm) , Weight: 217lbs (98kg) , Hair: Black , Eyes: Brown
Skyrose JAWBONE | WANTED FOR ROBBERY, UTTER THREAT TO CAUSE DEATH/HARM, FAIL TO COMPLY WITH PROBATION ORDER.
AGE: 39 , Height: 5’11” (180cm) , Weight: 230lbs (104kg) , Hair: Brown , Eyes: Brown
Tattoos: Upper back – middle: lotus flower and left leg: rose
Trevor SMITHEN | WANTED FOR FORCIBLE CONFINEMENT AND ASSAULT CAUSING BODILY HARM
AGE: 37 , Height: 5’11” (180cm) , Weight: 181lbs (82kg) , Hair: Black , Eyes: Brown
Tattoos: Right Forearm – T.R.U.M (truly real unique man), Left Forearm – 4 1 5, Right Upper Arm – Drama faces, M.O.B – Hated by Many, Loved by Few
Jordan WEIBE | WANTED FOR BREAK AND ENTER, COMMIT INDICTABLE OFFENCE AND FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH PROBATION.
AGE: 32 , Height: 5’10” (177cm) , Weight: 150lbs (68kg) , Hair: Brown , Eyes: Hazel
About Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers
Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is a non-profit society and registered charity that offers rewards for anonymous tip information about criminal activity and provides it to investigators in the communities of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Anonymous tips may be provided though Crime Stoppers’ downloadable “P3” app for Apple and Android phones, calling Crime Stoppers at 1-855-448-8477 (new number) or 1-800-222- 8477, online at solvecrime.ca, or by following the link on the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Facebook page.
Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers accepts tips in 115 different languages and will pay a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of a criminal, recovery of stolen property, seizure of illegal drugs or guns or denial of a fraudulent insurance claim.
Tipsters stay anonymous by using code numbers to check back later and collect their rewards. Find MVCS on Twitter: @solvecrime.
La Niña Could Mean A Dangerous Winter For Drivers, Here’s How To Reduce The Risk
Plan ahead for safe driving in winter conditions
In many parts of the province, drivers are beginning to experience winter conditions and snowfall on the roads. With the forecast of La Niña, a climate phenomenon that results in abnormally cooler temperatures, B.C. is set to experience a colder and wetter winter than previous years.
The Winter Driving Safety Alliance is urging motorists, workers and employers to prepare for winter driving conditions with its annual Shift into Winter campaign.
All B.C. drivers—and employers with workers who drive for business purposes – need to prepare for the winter months ahead. Winter driving conditions can be dangerous across the province – from rain and fog, to snow and ice. Even the most experienced drivers are challenged by cold temperatures, slippery roads, and reduced visibility.
In B.C., the average number of crashes where someone is killed or injured due to ‘driving too fast for the conditions’ more than doubles from fall to early winter—on average from 99 in September to 220 in December. Further, 28 percent of all work-related crashes resulting in injury and time-loss claims occur in November, December, and January.
The Shift into Winter website provides information for drivers on how best to prepare for winter driving as well as information for employers around planning, implementing, and monitoring a winter driving safety program. Employers and supervisors can access an online course and use resources provided in the employer toolkit – which includes a sample winter driving safety policy, recommended procedures, and customizable templates. In addition, an online quiz tests drivers’ and employers’ knowledge.
The Alliance encourages drivers and employers to adhere to these tips to stay safe on the road this winter:
- Plan ahead and check the current road and weather conditions on DriveBC.ca.
- Install a set of four matched winter tires with the 3-peaked mountain/snowflake symbol.
- Give your vehicle a pre-season maintenance check-up.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.
- Slow down – the posted speed limit is the maximum speed under ideal driving conditions. Reduce your speed below the speed limit and drive with extra care.
- Maintain a safe following distance – look ahead and keep at least four seconds of distance between you and the vehicle in front.
- Invest in winter driving training – learn how to brake safely, get out of a skid, and become familiar with how your vehicle handles in winter weather.
- Register and attend a free webinar to learn about practical B.C. driving tips.
Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees who drive for work, regardless of whether they drive a company-owned or personal vehicle. ShiftIntoWinter.ca provides information and resources that can help reduce the risks employees face when driving during winter.
Al Johnson, Head of Prevention Services, WorkSafeBC | “Most employers in B.C. have workers that drive for work—whether full time like truck or taxi drivers, or as part of their job like sales people, community health nurses, or trades workers. Employers should start preparing now by accessing resources through the Shift into Winter website to ensure their workers have the information and tools they need to drive safely this winter.”
Crime Stoppers “MOST WANTED – MUGSHOTS”
Crime Stoppers “MOST WANTED” is a weekly fan out service based on information provided by police investigators who need public assistance in making our communities safer by identifying individuals involved in committing crimes.
If you have any information regarding the individuals listed here, please contact Crime Stoppers anonymously. You could be eligible for a reward of up to $2000 upon arrest and charge. You will never be asked your name or have to appear in court.
Name: JOHNSTON, Brock Daniel
Height: 5’10” (170 cm)
Weight: 160lbs (72 kg)
Wanted: *Canada Wide * Bank Robbery and Sex Assault .
Tattoos: *Right upper arm “cat”,* Chest “Death before “Dishonor”
Warrant in Effect: June 17th, 2020
Jurisdiction: Vancouver Parole
Name: MACLEOD, Christopher
Height: 5’10″ (177 cm)
Weight: 1681bs (76 kg)
Wanted: *Canada Wide* Break Enter and Commit – Theft Under (x17), Break Enter with Intent (x3), and Mischief in Relation to Property
Tattoos: *Left Hand – “FUCK IT WERE 10, CM”, On fingers, Cross, Diamond, Chest – RT Side – Devils Head, LT Side – “MOM” Right Upper Arm – Grim Reaper/Skulls
Warrant in Effect: June 17, 2020
Jurisdiction: Vancouver Parole
Name: SERSON, Stuart
Height: 5’6” (170 cm)
Weight: 176lbs (80 kg)
Wanted: *Canada Wide*.Robbery – Use Firearm All Others, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime – Under, Fail To Comply with Probation Order, Mischief in Relation to Other Property,
Tattoos: *RIGHTER UPPER ARM “Warrier” Tribal art, LEFT SHOULDER- “Scarface” ,- NECK- Chinese symbol “81”, LEFT FOREARM- Dragan
Warrant in Effect: June 17th, 2020
Jurisdiction: New West Parole
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