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Jamila Swanson

6 months ago

Holiday Booking Scams to Avoid by Bacall Associates


Six Holiday Booking Scams to Avoid

Don't get ripped off by fake airline tickets, timeshare schemes or travel scams with our guide to six cons that target people booking holidays.

The first few months of the year are some of the busiest times for holiday bookings, as those fed up with the cold, wet weather think about escaping to sunnier climes.

But if you are about to book a holiday, you need to be on your guard, as fraudsters are ready to pounce on those distracted by the excitement of organizing a trip to a dream destination.


Here we look at six of the common scams, the warning signs, and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

1. Dodgy accommodation websites

When booking a holiday, you need to keep your wits about your to avoid getting duped by a fake travel website.

A common crime sees fraudsters hacking into the accounts of well-known accommodation sites, or redirecting people to bogus imitations.

If the company has been defrauding people – or has a bad reputation – it’s likely that consumers will have posted warnings about it.

Also look to see if the holiday provider is a member of a recognized trade body, such as Abta or Atol.


2. Fake airline tickets

You need to check – and check again – that the plane tickets you are buying are genuine. If not, you could end up parting with cash for a fake ticket, or a ticket that never arrives. Flights to West Africa are particularly prone.

If the flight prices you are looking at are considerably cheaper than competitors, proceed with caution, as this could be a scam.

You should also be wary if you are offered a discount for paying the whole bill upfront. Most legitimate bookings will require you to pay a deposit, and then the remaining balance a month or so before the trip.


3. Watch out for fraudsters targeting big sporting events and caravan stays

It’s also worth noting that big sporting events are often targeted by conmen, with sports fans ending up out of pocket on hotels and tickets for events such as the recent World cup in Brazil.

In addition, criminals will often target caravan stays, and will post fake promotions for accommodation on Facebook, as well as advertising websites, Craigslist and Gumtree.


4. Take care before posting holiday details on Facebook

Think carefully before posting any information about your forthcoming trip on a social-networking site, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, as you could end up essentially advertising the fact you are going to be away.

Fraudsters will trawl sites such as these in search of details about people’s holiday plans, and could then target your empty property while you are away, safe in the knowledge that you are not at home.


5. Watch out for copycat websites

If you need to apply for a new passport for your holiday, take care not to get caught out by a copycat website. These sites offer access to online Government services, but often charge a premium for a public service which is either free – or much cheaper – when accessed via the official site.

To avoid getting duped, go directly to the site.

Also exercise caution when applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – the card which entitles you to state-provided healthcare either at a reduced cost, or for free.


6. Fraudulent resort presentations 

Once you’re on holiday, keep your wits about you if you get invited to a so-called “holiday club” presentation in the resort in which you’re staying.

You may be persuaded into attending by the lure of a “free” holiday.

But if you’re not careful, you could get duped into buying a timeshare – and if you pay by bank transfer or cash, there is often no means of getting your money back.


6 months ago

If You Run an SME, Here Are the Most Important Elements of Budget 2016

Did you know I have something in common with Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and his predecessor Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam? We all wear glasses. And while the three of us might be literally short-sighted, there’s nothing short-sighted about the government’s consistent commitment to business growth in Singapore.

And the maiden Budget speech that Mr Heng gave last month echoed the Budget speeches of his predecessor DPM Tharman, in that he continues to recognise the importance of supporting small and medium enterprises in Singapore. Measures to strengthen local industries, such as the creation of new industrial spaces to cluster companies within the same industry and support to Trade Associations and Chambers to strengthen their capabilities and drive industry-wide solutions to common challenges were announced.

SMEs stand to benefit from having greater industry support as well as a more competitive industry. SMEs also enjoy financial support from a wide range of measures such as grants and tax rebates. But too often, it’s not clear what measures are available for businesses, or whether you’re eligible for them. Well, we’ve done the legwork for you. Regardless of where your company is on your enterprise journey, here is what Budget 2016 has for you:

The first step to getting help is knowing what help is actually available. Mr Heng admitted that although there’s a range of incentives schemes, some firms may often be confused as to which applies to them, or which agency is relevant to their interests.

Hopefully, this problem will be solved with a new Business Grants Portal, expected in the fourth quarter of 2016, as a centralised source of information on all grants available from government agencies. Through the Portal, SMEs should be better equipped to tap on the various financial aid available at different stages of their development.

In addition to the grants, the government is introducing an SME Working Capital Loan scheme for an initial period of 3 years, which lends up to $300,000 for each SME. This is especially useful for an SME starting out, when cashflow issues are a major problem. The government will co-share half of the default risk with participating financial institutions. This announcement comes on the heels of DBS’s announcement that they are the first bank in Singapore to offer SMEs bridging loans, which are collateral-free and have preferential interest rates.

However, start-ups also need to be aware that the cash payout rate under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme will be reduced from 60% to 40% for expenditures incurred on or after 1 August 2016, and the PIC scheme will expire after the Year of Assessment 2018. According to Mr Heng, this move is to shift away from broad-based support to more targeted measures. The implication is clear – firms cannot just do their own thing and expect the government to subsidise you. If you want state aid, you’re going to have to move in the same direction that the most competitive firms are going. Ultimately, however, this stands to benefit the company as it is somewhat of a partnership towards improving the performance of the company overall.

10 months ago

Richard “Scott” Isaacs MD

Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Doctor


#6 of 63 Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Doctors in Sacramento, California




• Wayne State Univ Sch Of Med, Detroit Mi 48201 (Grad. 1988)

1 year ago

Profile: Dr. Richard Isaacs

Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
Sacramento, CA

Male. 25 Years of Experience. 3 Insurance Plans
Languages supported at his practice: Russian, Tagalog, English, Spanish


Richard Scott. Isaacs, MD is a practicing Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT Specialist) in Sacramento, CA. Dr. Isaacs graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1989 and has been in practice for 25 years. Dr. Isaacs accepts multiple insurance plans including Kaiser Permanente, Medicare and Medicaid. In addition to English, Dr. Isaacs's practice supports these languages: Russian, Tagalog and Spanish.

Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)

Medical School
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Detroit, MI

1 year ago

As The World Knows Him - MEIR EZRA


“I believe life is what I make it to be, always has been and always will be” – the words of Meir Ezra, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Securant Inc. clearly establish the persona of one who has built and now running 24 companies that operate in 27 countries around the globe.


Dreams Unlimited:


Business Partner Tony Robbins describes Mr. Meir Ezra as a man who loves to dream and do things that have never been attempted before. Known for his ‘go get it’ attitude, the CEO of Securant Inc. has years of experience as an entrepreneur and multiple patents registered to his name.  The creative genius that he is, Meir Ezra is the creator of Time Maker Leadership Software, described as the most advanced management software in the market.


The Business Tycoon:


Owner of several businesses, Meir Ezra has established companies around the world – India, Columbia, Russia, Italy and Israel to name a few. He established a company that dealt with the distribution of gasoline management systems in the US. Needless to say the company had an amazing turnover of $100,000,000 within its first three years. He has also developed a technology that deals with cellphone blocking, another such development is a payment-by cellphone technology and software solutions for the hotel industry. He is also credited with the introduction of a special study technology at schools in Israel.


The Lighter Side:


Meir Ezra (Contacts) is known to be a family man and is devoted to his wife of 25 years. Together they have three children. As the saying goes, ‘All work and no play make Jack a dull boy’, apart from developing technology, Meir Ezra enjoys karate, motorcycling and kite surfing. He was a high ranking submarine diver in the Navy where he completed advanced courses in electronic countermeasure technology. Read more here...