​ Kijiji PayPal Scam – How it Works

You have undoubtedly heard countless horror stories of people using sites like Kijiji to sell their wares – being mugged, buying fake or stolen items, and the like. All of which are risks that can be avoided with due diligence and precaution. Instead, I want to take a moment to outline a very popular Kijiji PayPal scam. I’m sure this scam perpetuates itself on other platforms but it seems to be particularly common on Kijiji.

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What is 2-Factor Authentication & Why is it Important?

You may have heard the term before but if you are not a tech nerd there is just as good a chance that you have not — and that is truly a shame. With hacking on the rise and people’s entire lives residing on the internet, it is more important than ever to think about your digital security.

So what is 2-factor authentication?

Simply put, 2-factor authentication (two-factor autentication or 2FA) is the technology used to gain access to a site/service/app using more than just 1 method of authentication (the most common single method being a username/password). Instead, 2-factor authentication relies on both a username/password combo in conjunction with something that typically cannot be guessed or “hacked” remotely, such as a code sent to a user’s mobile phone or biometrics (fingerprint, iris scan etc.).

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Google Maps’ New “Typical Traffic” Route Planning Feature

Google Maps has just introduced a new feature that I have been patiently awaiting for several years now — Route planning with typical traffic conditions!

Route planning allows you to plot a course between two points and not just with current traffic but with typical traffic for various times during the week and day. Previously, you could only see current traffic conditions, which was not very helpful if you were trying to plan your trip to the airport a week in advance.

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Do Allergy Shots Work? Is Immunotherapy Effective?

I have been unknowingly suffering from allergies for years. In the spring and fall I would suddenly become “sick” and nothing I did could get rid of it. It took years for me to discover that it was allergies, not a virus each time, because my allergy symptoms are identical to that of the flu (fatigue, sneezing, itchy throat etc.).

Eventually I figured that I may actually be suffering from allergies, and after taking allergy meds I started to feel much better. The only problem: allergy meds knock me out. Even non-drowsy options make me feel tired and weird. The solution: allergy shots (immonotherapy)!

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From an Ex-Telemarketer: How to Get Rid of Telemarketers

Telemarketers can be a pain in the ass (there is really no other way to put it) but responding in the wrong way can make the situation worse.

As an ex-telemarketer, I know first-hand what it is like to be on both sides of the call and trust me, telemarketing sucks for both parties involved. I worked for a small call centre in Cambridge called C.S.I. that specialized in collecting donations for charities like the New England Police Officers Safety Association. To this day I sincerely hope it was legitimate, though I now have my doubts (I was only 15 then).

So how do you get rid of telemarketers?

Firstly, Do Not Ignore Them

Telemarketing companies use automted phone dialers to call large swathes of “potential customers”. This means that if you think you can get away from them by not picking up the phone because they will “give up”, you are probably wrong. These phone systems “got time fo’ dat” and will keep calling back until you decide to answer your phone (they may eventually declare you unreachable but it isn’t worth all of the ringing).

Instead, pick up the phone, interrupt their speel to save time and tell them that you are absolutely not interested and ask them to take you off their call list. It helps to mention this in several ways such as “please remove me from your call list and add me, permanently, to your do not call list”.

You can always avoid unknown callers, but you will likely miss important calls from friends and family whose numbers are not familiar to you — something that I am personally not comfortable with.

Just picking up and saying you are busy or not interested will not work because either because systems like the one I used include a “not interested” button that can be pressed, which ensures that you will get a call back so that they can reconsider in the future.

Secondly, Hide Your Number!

Adding yourself to the National Do Not Call List is a good starter. This will certainly reduce the volume of calls, but telemarketers with special exemptions or rogue telemarketers will still target you.

Giving out your phone number for giveaways is a sure-fire way to end up on a list as well. Chances are they captured consent not just for themselves but to share your number with other parties as well.

I have been giving this advice for years, though I do not know if anyone is actually following it. Give it a try.

You can read more goodbye-telemarketer suggestions here.

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Best Free Tax Software Canada | Studio Tax Review

It’s about that time of year again — tax season. That means spending copious amounts of time collecting forms, stubs, and receipts to appease the good ol’ taxman.

To simplify things, I used to go to H&R Block. What I didn’t realize is that H&R Block provides little service over and above what you can do yourself with proper tax software. It made sense at the time — as a student their $29.99 rate is fairly reasonable. However, out of school their rate jumps to $59.99+ making it worthwhile to do it yourself.

The second thing I didn’t realize is how easy it is to do your own taxes. Even those with “more complicated” tax situations should find it quite easy with a program like Studio Tax.

Studio Tax is 100% free (no catches) for up to 20 returns, so unless you are the Duggar family, you shouldn’t come close to hitting the limit.

Studio Tax is the best free tax software in Canada that I was able to find. It is surprisingly robust and helps walk you through the tax-filing process; even asking you questions about yourself like a tax professional would. Based on your responses to those questions, it will automatically serve up the necessary tax forms. You can then choose additional forms that are applicable to you.

The forms are easy to follow — as easy as “painting by the numbers”. The best part about Studio Tax, however, is the easy way in which it makes the final file available for net filing. Once you have filled out your forms, Studio Tax will create a TAX file that can easily be uploaded directly to the CRA via Netfile. I am a huge fan of this approach because it means you deal with no paper (other than what you have received).

The only room for improvement for Studio Tax is the interface (see below), which is frankly atrocious. Doing your taxes is not supposed to be a fun experience, but an interface uplift is desperately needed nonetheless. Thankfully, its ease of use more than makes up for its poor interface.

Download Studio Tax (Free Canadian Tax Software)

Studio Tax Software Interface

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Is Soy Bad for Men? It sure is!

This is not a random interesting topic I have decided to write about — I’ve had the privilege (sarcasm!) to experience the dangers of soy myself.

What Makes Soy Bad for Men?

Soy is a great little bean and has become very popular because of its health benefits. Overall, soy is a great addition to virtually any diet. However, the old adage “everything in moderation” cannot be more true for soy.

Soy, in small to medium doses, has been linked to improved cardiovascular health and weight loss, while providing healthy dietary fibre and protein (Dieticians of Canada) but large doses of soy products are another story.

Soy contains isoflavones, which are estrogen-like compounds derived from plants that, in large amounts, can increase estrogen in both men and women. It takes a fair bit of soy to produce noticeable effects, however it can be easy to reach those limits if you are unaware of the danger. Here’s where my person experience comes in.

See: Does Soy Milk Lower Testosterone?

You see, I decided about 4 months ago to make some major changes to my diet. I recently discovered I am lactose intolerant, so cow milk had to go. I easily replaced it with soy milk and loved it! I started drinking more than 2 cups of soy milk each day (which is already a moderate-high about of soy).

I then decided to fully jump on the soy wagon by purchasing soy protein powder and taking it several times a week before workouts. Protein powder is very concentrated, so my soy intake started going through the roof. It didn’t take long before I started noticing problems with my energy levels, alertness and muscle loss — aspects linked to an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen.

I had test after test performed but the test that finally shed light on my situation was a testosterone test, showing that my levels were below normal (not alarmingly low, but low). Thankfully, it seems like I caught the problem before it became pronounced — unlike this poor man.

If left unchecked, high soy intake can lead men to have fertility problems or even grow breasts!

Needless to say, I have not touched a single soy product since. As much as I like a good pair of breasts, I just don’t think they would suit me.
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