Gift card scam foiled; what to know about travelling with mixed vaccine doses: 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

In mid-June, a customer at Neils Harbour Co-op purchased about 20 gift cards totalling $7,000, setting off alarm bells for an employee. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

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

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How a grocery store in a Cape Breton village foiled a $7,000 gift card scam

Without the help of a sharp grocery store employee, a Cape Breton man would likely have lost thousands of dollars to a gift card scam.

"Basically, the spidey senses kicked in," said Neils Harbour Co-op employee Susan Dowling. "I went and asked him, 'Sir, why are you buying all these gift cards?' And I tried to explain to him that there's a lot of scams going on."

After a call to the RCMP, Dowling eventually helped convince the customer he was being conned. She says that most of the money the man lost to the scam was refunded by his credit card provider.

Police say gift cards are a common target for fraudsters because they're not easily tracked. Read more

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says more people may be falling victim to scams as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Worried your COVID-19 vaccine won't be accepted abroad? Here's what you need to know

If you've mixed COVID-19 vaccines or were vaccinated with a certain brand of AstraZeneca, you may face some obstacles while travelling.

That's because some countries don't consider travellers with mixed doses to be fully vaccinated. In the case of the United States, for instance, travellers may be allowed entry but then barred from attending private events such as concerts that require attendees to meet the Centers for Disease Control standard for being fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, some European countries, including Italy, Portugal and Poland, aren't recognizing Covishield, the Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

As a result, Canadian visitors to those countries who have had that vaccine won't be able to take advantage of the privileges offered to fully vaccinated travellers, such as being exempt from quarantine or from taking a COVID-19 test. Read more 

Travellers with mixed vaccines say they can't board some cruises

3 months ago
Many Canadians who have received mixed doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are facing travel issues in countries that don't recognize them as being fully vaccinated. Travel bloggers Karen and Brian Hosier share how the 'frustrating' rules are affecting their travel plans and business. 6:34

Employers who can't find workers try to sweeten the pot with signing bonuses

As pandemic restrictions ease, some employers who are having trouble finding workers are offering bonuses as an added hiring incentive.

Bonuses are typically used in tailored offers to top executives, highly skilled workers such as engineers and tech specialists, and some trades workers such as mechanics. But an online sampling by CBC News shows they're now being included in ads for more common jobs across the country.

The use of signing bonuses for common jobs signals that "these are desperate times" for some companies, says Marie-Hélène Budworth, an associate professor with the School of Human Resource Management at York University in Toronto. Read more

Edward Fitchett, the president of Fitch Security Integration in Toronto, urgently needs to recruit technicians. His company is one of many using signing bonuses to attract workers. (James Dunne/CBC)

Looking to buy a new car? A semiconductor shortage means you might have to wait

In a normal year, the vehicle lot at Jim Tubman Chevrolet in Ottawa is full with hundreds of new cars.

But last Friday there were only 19 — and some had already sold earlier that day.

"Obviously it's a little crazy right now, not just for us but everywhere, " said Ted Smith, senior salesperson at the dealership.

Auto sales have flipped from a buyers' market last year to a severe shortage in 2021, one that has people fighting to find popular models before they're snapped up or waiting two to four months for orders to arrive.

The issue is a worldwide supply shortage of semiconductors, which are now found in most modern vehicles and operate everything from brakes and air conditioning to windshield wipers. The shortage is caused in part by interruptions in production during the pandemic.

The car production slowdown has driven up the price of used vehicles so much, Smith said, that one that's a year-and-a-half old can now sell for more than what the owner initially paid. Read more

The semiconductor shortage is proving to be a big problem, as they're found in most modern vehicles and operate everything from brakes to windshield wipers. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)

What else is going on?

Several frozen mango brands recalled due to possible hepatitis A risk
2 people in Quebec, 1 in N.S. have tested positive for hepatitis A after consuming the frozen mangoes.

How entrepreneurs are creating a pandemic 'She-covery plan' to get women back in the workforce
Women bearing the brunt of job losses due to COVID-19, Statistics Canada says.

Calgary lawyer takes on Purdue Pharma to collect opioid-related costs for Canadian cities
Bankruptcy plan offers billions to U.S. states, cities and tribes but nothing to Canadian governments.

Cheese recalled for Listeria monocytogenes contamination
Cahill's brand of Original Irish Porter Cheese has been recalled.

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