E-transfer fraudsters capitalizing on increased demand; Retail's racial bias: CBC's Marketplace Cheat Sheet

CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need from the week.

Consumer and health news you need from the week

Toronto lawyer Paige Backman says banks could play a much bigger role in preventing e-transfer issues for customers, without too much effort. (Kimberly Ivany/CBC)

Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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E-transfer fraudsters are cashing in during the pandemic

With most of us stuck at home these days, we're using e-transfers more than ever before. Interac says they hit an all-time high in December, with over 77 million transactions. But there's a flip side to all those e-transfers. Last year, there was a significant increase in fraudulent transactions. Senior RCMP intelligence analyst and spokesperson Jeff Thomson told Go Public that last year fraudsters made off with nearly 1,800 e-transfers totalling almost $3 million in reported losses — up more than $400,000 from 2019. He says that's just the tip of the iceberg. Read more

WATCH | The trouble with e-transfers amid pandemic spike:

The trouble with e-transfers amid pandemic spike | Go Public

2 years ago
Duration 2:09
As more Canadians transferred money electronically during the pandemic, one business owner found out the hard way that some financial institutions say they won't reimburse e-transfers that are stolen.

Are isolation hotels the future of quarantine? 

In Ontario, Peel Region wants people exposed to COVID-19 to isolate away from home if possible —  and they'll foot the bill. With transportation to the facility available in a specially sealed mini-bus, 24-hour on-site nursing staff, temperature checks, security, and meals delivered right to the door, the region is trying to remove any inconvenience, fear or stigma from the isolation process. But as Marketplace's David Common reports, returning travellers need not apply. Read more

WATCH | What it's like to stay at a quarantine hotel:

What it’s like to stay at a quarantine hotel (Marketplace)

2 years ago
Duration 3:41
CBC News’ David Common takes an exclusive tour to show what it’s like inside a quarantine hotel in Mississauga, Ont., for residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have tested positive and can’t safely isolate at home.

The retail sector has a racial bias problem — and this Sephora survey suggests it's costing it customers

A study commissioned by Sephora on racial bias in the U.S. retail sector is having reverberations in Canada — at Sephora's Canadian stores and in the beauty industry more widely. The study surveyed customers and employees across the U.S. retail industry, from mass merchandising, to department stores and specialty retailers. The survey wasn't limited to the beauty industry in the hopes other retailers would also use the data to inform their policies. Among the findings, three in five retail shoppers reported experiencing discriminatory treatment, and two in five said it was based on their race or the colour of their skin. Read more

Earlier this season, Marketplace looked at racism in Alberta's oilsands as part of a new series called Face Racism.

Have you experienced discriminatory treatment in the beauty industry and want to share your story with us? Email

Sephora's survey of U.S. customers and employees found three in five retail shoppers had experienced discriminatory treatment. The beauty retailer released the findings publicly in hopes other retailers would use the data to inform their own policy changes. (Richard Grundy/CBC)

COVID-19 used to scam Manitoba farming conference out of $200K

Organizers of a Manitoba farming conference were scammed out of nearly $200,000 in a "sophisticated fraud" that used COVID-19 as a ruse, a judge has ruled. The case involves fake emails, the apparent sale of farmland in central Africa and what could be a completely fake lawyer. Read more

CropConnect holds an annual farming conference in Winnipeg, pictured here. The scammer tricked the non-profit into transferring nearly $200,000 to a different bank account, blaming the change on the COVID-19 pandemic. (CropConnect/Twitter)

What else is going on?

COVID-19 outbreaks more common in for-profit senior residences in B.C.
CBC analysis finds privately-run facilities over-represented among those with highest infection rates in B.C.

Air Canada puts all Rouge flights on hiatus
About 80 people will be laid off temporarily as a result of move.

We'll wear masks after the pandemic, researchers predict, and they're trying to make them better
Experts hope by improving masks and PPE, people will be more likely to wear it post-pandemic.

Ottawa has no plans to force land travellers to quarantine in hotels — at least not yet
Tougher measures at the land border are under discussion, government official says

This week on Marketplace

Marketplace tested five different air purifiers to see how well they clean your air. (Anu Singh/CBC)

What's lurking in the air inside your home?

We're all spending more time indoors, but how clean is the air in your home? We test indoor air quality, as well as the marketing claims and the effectiveness of popular air purifiers. Do these products — which range in price from about $150 to $800 — clean your air?

Watch our investigation anytime on CBC Gem

-Nil Köksal and the Marketplace team.

Marketplace needs your help

Ever wonder how much sugar is in that protein bar? Or how much sodium in your soup?  Which food labels do you want us to investigate?  Email us at

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How are you feeling amidst the pandemic? Feeling isolated, anxious or both? We want to hear how the pandemic has affected your state of mind. Tell us your story at

Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace anytime on CBC Gem.

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