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Beware of cold call scam

 

Several local people are out hundreds of dollars thanks to a recent cold call scam involving non-existent computer viruses.

Recently, local computer technician, Michael Prunner of MP Computer Services reported several incidents to the local police involving clients who had received calls.

In fact, Constable Peter Robertson, Media Relations Officer for the SD&G OPP, said this will be Crime Stoppers “Crime of the Week.”

Prunner said the people calling most often say they are from Microsoft and “they tell you that you have a serious problem with your Windows. One even told the customer that their Windows had expired.”

Here is an example of a typical cold call: “Hello, I’m calling on behalf of Microsoft Support Team. Your computer is sending error messages to us, which tells us that you have viruses and some corrupted files. I can help you fix that now.”

“They sit you down in front of your computer telling you that you have bad stuff on your computer and they need to work on it. Basically, they use all free cleaners and they charge you 10 times more than it’s worth,” informed Prunner.

According to Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector Kerry Petryshyn, this is what is called “deceptive marketing.”

What this means is that the person calling is from a “legitimate” company of sorts, but has nefarious intentions in terms of charging you for something you could have gotten for free, charging you for something you don’t need, or charging you much more than necessary for something that may or may not be useful.

The best option for dealing with this sort of scammer is to contact the Competition Bureau of Canada. Petryshyn said, “they deal with companies that are deceiving clients.”

As with other “viruses,” the “computer scam virus” has many different strains. Petryshyn said, “there’s a few potential possibilities that can occur as there’s a variety of anti-virus scams coming out.”

According to a release from the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (CAFC), “the virus scam has grown to epidemic proportions in Canada, now accounting for between 70 and 80 per cent of frauds reported daily to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre.”

“This dramatic increase means the scam is working – more and more Canadians are being targeted by the virus scam.”

“Allowing a third party to download software or remotely access your computer carries a number of serious risks.”

“Malicious software can be installed to capture sensitive data such as your online banking user names and passwords, bank account information and your personal identity information.”

“Your computer can also be converted to a bot-net, which means criminals can use it without your knowledge or participation. It can then be used to spam other people, spread viruses to your friends or overload computer networks.”

“Getting your credit card information is the second important part of the virus scam. Once a criminal has that information it can be used to make purchases without your consent.”

The CAFC also warns that “not all virus scams are conducted over the phone. Many CAFC callers report being scammed after responding to internet pop-up ads for anti-virus software.”

As for Microsoft, they do not cold call customers. An employee of Microsoft Ottawa pointed out that it would be almost impossible to do so because of the immense number of users all over the world.

For those who may have already given a scammer access to their computer, Petryshyn has some advice: “If you think somebody’s had access to your computer, I wouldn’t be going back on the Internet until I’ve gotten the problem solved. It’s like opening the door again.”

He advised that anti-virus and anti-spy programs do not check for peer-to-peer applications. For this, “you may need a technician to check your system.”

Peer-to-peer applications are those that give someone else remote access to your computer and files. 

Petryshyn uses a house metaphor to explain the situation more clearly: allowing someone to install peer-to-peer software, giving them remote access to your computer, is basically the same as giving “the bad guy” a key to your back door. They can come in whenever they like, invited or not. 

As for credit cards, Petryshyn advises checking with your bank or credit card company right away.

For questions, or to report a scam incident, contact the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre via email at info@antifraudcentre.ca or via the telephone at 1-888-495-8501.

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Mischief in Morrisburg

On November 16th, SD&G OPP officers responded to a disturbance at an establishment on Main Street in the Village of Morrisburg. 

Investigation revealed that an intoxicated male had caused damage to two vehicles in the parking area.

Casey Eyegetok, age 19, of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, was arrested and is charged with: Mischief to Property Under $5,000 (2 counts); and, Being Intoxicated in a Public Place.

He is scheduled to appear in Morrisburg court on January 10, 2012.

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STOP Program: helping smokers quit smoking

Media Release – Nov 21, 2011

EASTERN ONTARIO – Smokers from across Ontario have the opportunity to enroll in the STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) Program and receive nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), free of charge to help them in their attempt to quit smoking. 

For many smokers, the cost of nicotine replacement products is a barrier to quitting. The evidence-based STOP Program provides five weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy, a practical support for alleviation of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which we know will help them to stop smoking.  

Those interested in participating in the STOP program may do so by attending a STOP workshop, to be held in Cornwall on December 12 and 13, and in Alexandria on December 13. To find out if you are eligible to participate, and to register for the workshop, call the Eastern Ontario Health Unit at 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120. Ask for Health Line.

The STOP Program is conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and is funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport as part of its Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy.  

In addition to providing NRT, STOP will offer educational material to encourage the program participants to make broader changes that can improve their health even more, because often smoking does not occur in isolation, but rather accompanies other risk factors for disease, such as poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. 

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s leading addiction and mental health teaching hospital. Integrating clinical care, scientific research, education, policy development and health promotion, CAMH transforms the lives of people impacted by mental health and addiction issues.

Background: The STOP Program

Introduced in 2005 through a partnership between the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, the STOP Program has already provided nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine gum and patches, as well as bupropion and varenicline, free of charge, in addition to counseling support to an unprecedented 68,000 people from across Ontario.  

Baseline questionnaires and follow-up surveys, spaced over six months post-treatment will help the STOP Program researchers learn more about the long-term impact of providing nicotine replacement therapy and other smoking cessation aid free of charge to smokers Ontario-wide. To date, results for STOP participants have shown an improvement of at least two times the typical quit rates.  

While smoking rates in Ontario have declined over the past twenty years, 1.6 million Ontarians continue to smoke and 16,000 die each year from the effects of commercial tobacco products. Therefore, provision of smoking cessation support to smokers in Ontario is strongly indicated.

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Iroquois Matilda Lions give to Christmas Exchange

The Iroquois Matilda Lions Club donated $500 each to the Christmas Exchange on November 17th at the Morrisburg Food Bank.  The Christmas Exchange supplies Christmas dinner to those in Dundas County who may otherwise have gone without on Christmas Day. Boxes, filled with everything needed to make a scrumptious meal, are available for pick up a few days before the holiday.

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Hospital headlines

On November 16th, Cholly Boland, CEO for Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH), spoke with reporters, giving updates on what is happening at the local hospital.

He told reporters that there’s “a lot of things we do that are worthy of note.”

“We are in the process of developing a research initiative.”

In addition, “we have academic programs and placement programs for everything possible,” said Boland. He reported talking to many students at the University of Ottawa as well as the Elizabeth Bruyere Institute.

He said WDMH has “nurses and doctors at every stage of their training. We have two medical residents.”

Boland is also trying to attract administration students to the hospital through visits to the University of Ottawa.

He said the “backbone” of the hospital is technology, where computerization and the full implementation of patient information will allow all departments to be “connected with one source of communication.”

Boland believes that the health professional’s “biggest tool is information.” 

Having a patient’s information all stored in one location that’s easily accessible to all health care professionals is “really invaluable. It’s really going to move us ahead.”

Boland also talked about working in conjunction with the Ottawa Hospital “to bring more services (like surgery) here and,” he continued, “helping Ottawa, which is a bottleneck” with lengthy emergency room wait times. 

The integration of Dundas Manor with the hospital is expected to be “concluded some time  early next year, subject to the government giving us final approval.”

As for the controversy over the purchase of Dundas Manor, Boland said, “the owners of Dundas Manor were looking for a buyer and they could have picked anyone. We’re a public organization. We’re all about health care.”

“None of the money will go to profit; it will all be reinvested.”

According to Boland, “the first driving force is  to provide quality healthcare.”

“We do some really progressive senior services care here.” 

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Hockey team gets a break

The November 15th South Dundas council meeting saw a lot of discussion surrounding the Morrisburg Rink rental fees.

The issue was raised due to a letter received by the Township,  sent by Bruce Mullin about the “more-than-double” rate of the ice rental fee for Seaway District High School’s hockey team.

According to Mullin’s letter, last year the team paid $37 per hour for ice time, but this year the rate has gone up to $87 per hour.

The Morrisburg Rink’s rental fees are $125 per hour for adult prime time rental, $95 per hour for children’s prime time rental, and a universal $85 per hour for non-prime rental. All prices are before the addition of HST.

Manager for Recreation, Don Lewis, provided council with a breakdown of rink costs. It costs “$24 per hour for electricity when the compressors are running. When there’s no rental, it costs $8 per hour.”

“The hourly rate for one of our employees (with benefits calculated in) is $29.66 per hour.”

“It’s $53.67 in total. That does not include the natural gas we burn for heaters or the zamboni. These are just two of the key things,” he continued.

In checking with other arenas, Lewis found that Morrisburg’s prices are comparable.

“People think that when the rink’s not being used that it’s not costing us as if it was being used,” said Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald.

The main concern seemed to revolve around two points: what is fair and consistent for everyone; and, what can council do to help support the existence of a hockey team for the local high school.

Councillor Jim Graham pointed out: “They got a rate last year and they were expecting it this year. My suggestion is that we give them a reduced rate on their practice time. This year they got hit with something they weren’t expecting.”

Mayor Steven Byvelds said, “one of the challenges I have is that we went through the budget. We felt they were fair. There’s no expectation to make money. It’d be nice to break even. There’s a lot of cost we haven’t accounted for.”

He pointed out the probability that “if we allow a break on this one” then minor hockey might ask “‘if the high school can get a break, then why can’t we?’”

He later said, “I just think it’s fair that we try to be consistent.”

He admitted that the hockey program for high school students “gets them out and gives them school spirit.”

He said, “we try to be fair and still run our business and try to keep deficits to a minimum.”

Council members each saw the need to be fair and the need to keep deficits to a minimum, but many also wanted to do something for the high school’s hockey team.

In the end, it was decided that for 2011/2012, ice rental fees for Seaway’s team will be $50 per hour for practice ice time and $85 per hour for tournament ice time.  The following years will see the team paying the same price as everyone else.

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Municipal drains to receive some TLC

Several South Dundas municipal drains will be getting some much needed attention now that tendered bids for each of the jobs have been approved.

On November 15th, Manager for  Planning and Enforcement, Don Lewis presented council with work agreements for ten municipal drains asking that council approve the contracts.

Prior to this, municipal drain maintenance tenders were sent out for each drain separately to the following companies: Ault Excavating; Cruickshank Construction; Fawcett Brothers Excavating; Lloyd McMillan Equipment; and, Quintan Products.

Ault Excavating and Quintan Products tendered bids for each of the drains. Fawcett Brothers Excavating tendered a bid for the Howard Mellan Municipal Drain. No other companies submitted bids.

Quintan Products had the lowest bid for the Carkner Municipal Drain project at $38,485.66.

Ault Excavating held the lowest bids for the nine remaining projects, as follows:

Ault Munroe Municipal Drain for $13,482.19

Eva McIntosh Municpal Drain for $18,155.01

Lee McIntosh Municipal Drain for $8,546.83

Barkley Creek/ McKenzie Municipal Drain for $31,218.97

Van Moorsel Municipal Drain for $23,430.26

Glen Becker Municipal Drain for $14,411.26

Marcellus Municipal Drain for $30,420.16

Howard Mellan Municipal Drain for $7,127.28

Landon McInnis Municipal Drain for $11,248.56

Lewis gave a brief overview of each drain project in terms of the length in lineal feet as well as in terms of when the drain had last been maintained.

While the majority of the municipal drains hadn’t received maintenance in approximately 15 to 16 years, a couple of them have been waiting since the 1970’s and1980s.

Once completed, the land owners will be sent invoices to cover the cost of the work done. The province will pay one third of the cost for those drains located on agricultural land.

Council approved each of the contracts as presented.

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Township recognized for grant allocations

Going forward, grants approved in the $ for $ program will now require the recipient to acknowledge the township’s contribution.

At the November 15th South Dundas council meeting, Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald presented council with the amendment to the program’s guidelines.

The additional clause reads: “The recipient agrees to recognize the contribution of the Township of South Dundas through the installation of a plaque, signage or other suitable means satisfactory to the Township. Generally the nature of the project and the involvement of the Township and the recipient shall be identified.”

The issue was first raised at the November 1st council meeting by Councillor Evonne Delegarde.

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