Fake websites for real companies are scamming Canadian consumers and businesses

Avoiding online scams is nothing new for many Canadians, but companies and anti-fraud professionals are warning consumers to watch for fake listings on search engines that try to redirect people to fraudulent versions of familiar companies and brands.

These listings pose as existing businesses and involve new search results popping up, either directing consumers to a fake website that looks similar to the real thing, or providing phone numbers that don’t actually lead to the company in question.

Calgarian Reza Bacchus ran into this issue when trying to search for a new cowboy hat — specifically, a Stetson.

“I came across this StetsonHatCanada.com website … so I just clicked and purchased it, easy,” he said.

LISTEN | No Stetson, No Hat, No Canada — copycat websites dupe consumers: 

Cost of Living7:32Fake websites that look real

 

Bacchus had been searching for stores that carry Stetson hats because he said they have limited availability in Canada. He had previously been unable to buy from the main Stetson website as it did not ship to Canada.

Calgary resident Reza Bacchus eventually got his Stetson hat by flying to Vancouver and buying it in a store. (Reza Bacchus)

Bacchus’ initial surprise at a Canadian website should have been a red flag. The website was a fake duplicate. He never received his hat despite spending about $100 US. After a month of waiting, customer service from the real Stetson company confirmed he was scammed.

“I got a disappointing but a friendly email [from Stetson.com]… they had received emails concerning this unauthorized website,” explained Bacchus, who eventually travelled to Vancouver to buy a Stetson hat at one of the few brick and mortar stores to carry them in Canada.

As for the money, he filed a chargeback claim with his credit card company and received his funds back after several months.

It’s difficult to determine exactly how many Canadians are affected by this specific scam, or how much money is lost. According to the RCMP, only 5 to 10 per cent of fraud cases are reported in Canada. In 2023, those reports accounted for $567 million in losses, but that could include everything from immigration fraud to cryptocurrency scams. 

Reported fraud of all types has increased by $187 million since 2021 — and that’s with only a small minority of cases actually reported or tracked.

Travel agent Flight Centre faces dupe phone numbers

A

Read more

Canadian Soccer Business, Mediapro trade accusations in court filings

TORONTO — The opening blows have been delivered in a court battle that could have major implications for how Canadian soccer fans view the domestic brand of the beautiful game.

On one side is Canadian Soccer Business, whose investor group and board includes the Canadian Premier League owners. CSB looks after marketing and broadcast rights for both the CPL, which is entering his sixth season, and Canada Soccer.

On the other is Mediapro, CSB’s Barcelona-based media partner — a global entity that produces content for 16 soccer leagues worldwide.

Both sides want out of the 10-year agreement struck in 2019, saying the other failed to live up to the deal. And both want the other to pay for it.

None of their claims have been proven yet, with the ball now in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. But CSB says it has taken back its rights from Mediapro and is looking for other broadcast partners.

In a five-page notice of action, CSB alleges Mediapro has reneged on its payments and “improperly repudiated” their agreement covering media rights and production, broadcast and distribution.

In a 32-page statement of claim, Mediapro alleges CSB has not lived up to its promises, saying that halfway through the agreement CSB has delivered just over a quarter of the number of required matches (a guaranteed minimum of 2,042 CPL and Canadian Championship games by 2028).

Mediapro also says the league had promised to expand to 10 teams by 2020 and 16 teams by 2024.

“The league has remained stagnant at eight teams since 2020 and shows signs of decline rather than growth,” the statement of claim says.

“Mediapro has delivered on its bargain. CSB has materially failed to do so and provides no reasonable prospect of doing so within the agreed upon term,” it adds.

Mediapro wants damages of at least $50 million, court costs and a declaration that it was within its right to terminate the deal.

“No entity has invested more in Canadian soccer than Mediapro,” it says in its statement of claim.

“Currently, Mediapro’s investment into Canadian soccer exceeds $60 million which is a combination of capital expenditures, operation and production costs and licence fees,” it added.

In its filing, Canadian Soccer Business alleges Mediapro did not meet its requirements, including failing to deliver on a sub-licensing arrangement for linear television broadcasting that would expose its content to a greater audience via

Read more

Which Canadian company was hacked this week? Take The Globe’s business and investing news quiz

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s business and investing news quiz. Join us each week to test your knowledge of the stories making the headlines. Our business reporters come up with the questions, and you can show us what you know.

This week in business and investing: The former chief executive officer of a noted Canadian company came out of retirement to retake the reins of a business she started more than three decades ago, after the previous boss quit – just one year into the gig. The last year has been fairly tumultuous for the company, with leadership shakeups, a cyberattack, the exit of half of its board and competitive pressures in the industry.

Meanwhile, a U.S.-based software company also attempted to bring back former staffers – this time, employees that were part of mass layoffs. The business offered relatively plush perks, as part of its pitch to ex-staffers to return. Elsewhere, borrowing costs remain sky-high, and a Canadian province wants to separate – from the federal pension program, that is.

Do you remember these stories? Take our quiz below to test your recall for the week ending Sept. 21.


1‘If you want to bring in the ______ CEOs and whip them with wet noodles, you can do that,’ Prof. Christopher Ragan said about executives from which industry?

a. Grocery

b. Bank

c. Entertainment

d. Oil and gas

a. Grocery. Prof. Ragan was referring to the move by the federal government to summon grocery chain executives to Ottawa to testify over food inflation (still far above most other components CPI data).

2Founder and former CEO ____ announced she’s coming out of retirement to retake the helm of _____, the company she founded 30 years ago.

a. Arlene Dickinson, Indigo

b. Heather Reisman, Indigo

c. Margaret Atwood, Indigo

d. Arlene Dickinson, Chapters

b. Heather Reisman. It’s the latest in a year of leadership shakeups at the bookseller; in early September, Indigo announced the departure of its CEO and president after just one year in the job.

3The Walt Disney Company said it would be doubling its capital expenditure into its parks division as Disney+ continues to see losses. How much will they invest in parks in the next 10 years?

a. US$33-billion

b. US$100-billion

c. US$60-billion

d. US$50-billion

4Yet another Canadian company was the victim of cyberattacks this week. Which company announced

Read more

Danny Stoffman and the baby boomer book that changed Canadian business

Stoffman, who co-wrote bestseller Boom, Bust & Echo, and died in July, helped bring demographics into boardrooms

Article content

David Foot was squirrelled away in a corner of the University of Toronto economics department when journalist Daniel Stoffman called him up to do a story on a Canadian real estate bubble that, at the time, had only recently popped.

The housing crash of 1989 caused chaos and plummeting prices, and left a bunch of homeowners wondering why they had paid so much, what had gone wrong and why they didn’t see it coming.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Article content

But Foot saw the end coming plain as day. Demographics, he theorized, provided the explanation. The population bulge born between

Read more

Bed Bath & Beyond gift cards to expire weeks before company closes its Canadian stores

When Ann Hull of Barrie, Ont., visited her local Bed Bath & Beyond store last week, she bought an ice cream scooper and a paper towel holder, determined to use her $50 gift card before it was too late.

“It was not what I really wanted,” she said. “I was disappointed and I was definitely frustrated.”

The U.S.-based Bed Bath & Beyond retail chain is in financial trouble, so it’s closing all of its 54 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and 11 buybuy BABY locations in Canada.

Last month, Bed Bath & Beyond Canada was granted bankruptcy protection by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The company told CBC News its Canadian stores are set to close sometime next month, but customer gift cards and Welcome Rewards points will expire next week — on March 9.

Ann Hull of Barrie, Ont., purchased an ice cream scooper and paper towel holder with her $50 Bed Bath & Beyond gift card before it expires. The retailer’s Canadian stores are set to close sometime next month, but customer gift cards and Welcome Rewards points will expire on March 9. (CBC)

Hull said she thinks the March 9 deadline is unfair.

“There’s going to be a lot of disappointed people,” she said. “I think they should be honouring the gift cards right until their doors close.”

Can gift cards expire?

Typically, gift cards can’t expire in Canada as mandated by provincial consumer protection regulations. But that rule no longer applies when a company seeks bankruptcy protection — leaving the courts to determine whether, and for how long, a retailer’s gift cards will be accepted.

“Generally, the judge will accept the company’s recommendation, but it is ultimately the judge who needs to approve it,” said insolvency lawyer Geoffrey Dabbs.

Bed Bath & Beyond did not answer questions about the March 9 deadline, except to say that it had been extended following an initial expiry date of Feb. 25.

A Bed Bath & Beyond gift card
Typically, gift cards can’t expire in Canada, but that rule no longer applies when a company seeks bankruptcy protection. (Bed Bath & Beyond )

Dabbs said gift cardholders are fortunate they have a window of opportunity to redeem their cards, as they join a long list of unsecured creditors owed money by Bed Bath & Beyond Canada.

“The unsecured creditors on the bottom typically get little or nothing,” said Dabbs, a partner with Gehlen Dabbs Cash LLP

Read more