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Fraud Prevention Month: Know the Red Flags of Fraud
by FCNB on 




Fraud Prevention Month: Know the Red Flags of Fraud

March marks Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. The Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) is taking this opportunity to help New Brunswickers recognize the red flags of frauds and scams.  FCNB provides resources that can help consumers from being scammed.

In early January, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported that New Brunswickers lost $1.1 million to fraud in 2018. This figure is considered low because it is estimated that 95 per cent of frauds and scams go unreported. The impact of fraud goes well beyond financial loss.

“This is the 15th anniversary of Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and during those 15 years we have seen fraudsters using evolving technology to find new ways to target consumers,” said Rick Hancox, Chief Executive Officer of FCNB. “Even though the scammer’s pitch may change with the times, the red flags of fraud tend to be common across all different types of scams. We provide information on these red flags of fraud at FCNB.ca. We also warn consumers about current scams through our alerts and subscription services and provide tips on how to protect themselves and those around them.”   

According to FCNB, learning to recognize the red flags of scams, being wary and being vigilant can protect against the devastating impact of fraud. 

Here are some common red flags:
  • Fraudsters pressure you to act fast before you have the time to think it over, review any contracts or ask for a second opinion.
  • Fraudsters try to gain your trust quickly by bonding over shared groups and activities. They will pretend to have your best interests at heart.
  • Fraudsters may call early in the morning or during the night when you are less alert so they can trick you into revealing financial information.
  • Fraudsters may try to blackmail you, or tell you that you will be arrested. They may even impersonate a family member in trouble.
  • Fraudsters may send you an email that looks like an email from your bank or other service provider. Avoid clicking links within emails.
  • Fraudsters may ask you to keep their offer a secret.
  • Fraudsters might tell you to send money using iTunes cards, gift cards, prepaid credit cards or cryptocurrency.

FCNB is hosting a number of initiatives around the province during Fraud Prevention Month. FCNB is partnering with Tazza Caffe in St-Isidore to host a Spend Smart Café from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 7. There they will meet with consumers to talk about fraud, hear what is happening in their community and share tips on avoiding frauds and scams. They will be offering free coffee and treats while supplies last.

FCNB will also host a booth at the Greater Moncton Home Show March 22-24 at which they will share information to help consumers and homeowners recognize and avoid frauds related to mortgages, door-to-door selling and more.

“The more people can recognize the red flags of fraud, be wary about offers and be vigilant with their money, the fewer people will end up being scammed,” said Hancox. “Even one victim of fraud is too many.”

01-03-2019

Media Contact:

Sara Wilson, Senior Communications Officer, 506 643-7045 or 1 866 933-2222. sara.wilson@fcnb.ca

FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.


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Consumer alert regarding gifting circles
by FCNB on 




Consumer alert regarding gifting circles

The Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) is warning consumers about gifting circles that are operating in the province, specifically targeting women.

FCNB advises that gifting circles, even those marketed as charitable ventures, are pyramid schemes. Participating in a pyramid scheme is illegal, regardless of whether or not a person makes money. Reports to FCNB from concerned New Brunswickers indicate that the people being recruited are being offered significant payouts despite low entry-level fees, which is a classic signal of fraud.

How it works

Gifting circles are comprised of 15 people divided into four levels: one at the top, two on the second level, four on the third, and eight on the bottom.

Members in the top three levels of a gifting circle do not have to pay to join. Funding comes from members at the bottom level who must pay a membership fee or “give a gift” to join. Once the bottom level has been filled, the woman at the top is “celebrated.” She collects funds paid by the bottom level and, in exchange, gives them each a small gift, usually a gift card. There is typically a significant difference between the values of the small gift and the one received by the person at the top.

After the top-level member leaves, the group splits in two and the members at the second level move to the top. Eight new members must then be recruited to each group for the new top members to get their payout. This cycle continues until there are no more recruits to bring into the group, and it eventually falls apart.

Recruits are told that they will be helping other women with their contribution, and that they are joining a group that will help them when their turn comes. The chance of making it to the top of the pyramid and getting a payout are slim at best; you are more likely to lose all of the money you contributed.

Consumers are encouraged to be on the lookout for the warning signs of a pyramid scheme:

  • Earnings are based on how many people you can recruit, rather than through the sale of products or services.
  • Pyramid schemes promise to make you rich or return your payout with little effort or risk.   
  • You are asked to contribute large quantities of money or purchase large quantities of products upfront to get the circle started.
  • The training and promotional material focuses on convincing you that the opportunity is not a scam.
  • The recruiter encourages you to keep the information secret, to make it seem exclusive.

New Brunswickers are encouraged to consider these warning signs and do their own research, no matter the source of the opportunity. Pyramid schemes often have an element of affinity fraud. They rely on the trust you put in your friends and family in hopes that you will hand over your money before taking the time to ask questions or think critically about the opportunity.

People are also encouraged to seek out reputable charitable avenues if they wish to help women in their community. Before donating time or money, check the Canada Revenue Agency’s charities listing to be sure the charity is registered. If an investment opportunity comes your way, make sure the person you are working with is registered with FCNB.

New Brunswickers who are uncertain about the legitimacy of an opportunity, or wish to report a pyramid scheme, can contact FCNB online, by email or by phone at 1-866-933-2222.

27-02-2019

MEDIA CONTACT:
Sara Wilson, communications, Financial and Consumer Services `, 506-643-7045 or 1-866-933-2222, sara.wilson@fcnb.ca.

FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation that regulates the following sectors: securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Educational tools and resources are available online.

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Top consumer lessons for New Brunswickers in 2018
by FCNB-Fr on 




Top consumer lessons for New Brunswickers in 2018

Warranty issues were among the top consumer complaints the Financial and Consume Services Commission (FCNB) received in 2018. FCNB has a wealth of information available that can help New Brunswickers avoid common pitfalls in consumer purchases.

“The complaints and questions we receive indicate to us there is a need for more consumer information and resources,” said Alaina Nicholson, director of the Consumer Affairs Division. “New Brunswick consumers can avoid common pitfalls by taking the time to understand best practices for purchases, as well as their consumer rights and responsibilities.”

Here are the common best practices New Brunswick consumers can apply across their purchases:

Reading contracts and estimates carefully

  • Having a contract is essential, even for small projects and services such as home renovations, seasonal services such as snow removal and when applying for or buying something on credit.
  • Be sure you fully understand the terms of a contract before you commit to a purchase or agree to pay for a service. Ensure you understand your cancellation rights, and ask if you will have to pay for installing or uninstalling the product. Shop around and compare the pricing and services to decide which will best suit your needs.
  • Ask about and compare cash price, credit price, and warranties.
  • Only agree to payments that you can afford, and make sure you understand the full costs including any interest or fees.
  • It’s good practice to have the salesperson sign the contract before you do. By being the last one to sign the contract you can ensure you are agreeable with all of the terms after a thorough review of all the details, and you can check that the contract details are correct (such as date and price), and you understand the content of the contract.

Asking for references

  • Good home contractors, mechanics, and other service providers have satisfied customers. If the service provider is unwilling to provide references, be wary of hiring them.

Asking for licensing or registration

  • Door-to-door salespeople, payday lenders, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers and many investment professionals are required to hold licences or be registered to operate in New Brunswick. If you are dealing with any of these professionals, be sure to ask for a license or proof of registration. This is one of the many ways you can protect yourself from fraud. You can also check our website to confirm registration.

Getting multiple quotes 

  • Getting multiple quotes for the same service can be an eye-opening exercise, because it will help you determine where you’ll get the best value for your money.
  • Don’t always assume the cheapest quote will save you money in the long run.

Asking about return policies

  • A common misconception is that when you buy a product you will have 30 days to return it in exchange for a full refund. In fact, retailers are free to set their own return policies. Consumers are responsible for asking each retailer what their return policy is before they make a purchase.

Knowing about warranties

  • Did you know you have rights under the Consumer Product Warranty and Liability Act when a product you bought did not work, was defective or did not live up to the seller’s promises or your expectations? This legislation applies to new and used goods sold by a dealer for personal, family or household use, but does not apply to private sales between individuals.
  • Learn more about warranties and your rights and contractual clauses when it comes to buying appliances.

Free samples are not always free

  • Use caution when signing up for free samples, free newsletters or for updated products from online companies. New Brunswick consumers have reported being invoiced or charged to receive free samples after unknowingly signing up for a subscription service. If you have provided your credit card information, you should contact the suspected company and request a stop payment. Read more about free sample scams.

FCNB staff investigate consumer complaints relating to a wide range of financial and consumer protection legislation in the province, provide advice and direction to the public on how to resolve their complaints, and educate consumers and businesses on their rights and responsibilities. Not all inquiries or complaints received by FCNB fall under the legislation for which it is responsible. When FCNB receives a question that is outside its scope of regulation, staff refer the question or complaint to the appropriate agency.

“Best practices for consumers are typically common across all of their activities – committing to a large purchase or service should only occur after a thorough review of the contracts involved, asking for references and licensing, and asking about return policies,” said Nicholson. “We urge consumers to ask questions, to take the time to make informed, no-pressure decisions, to do research and to read all contracts carefully when making purchases.” 

04-02-2019

Media Contact:
Sara Wilson, Senior Communications Officer, 506 643-7045 or 1 866 933-2222. sara.wilson@fcnb.ca

FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.

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New Brunswickers lost $1.1 million to frauds and scams in 2018
by FCNB on 



New Brunswickers lost $1.1 million to frauds and scams in 2018


New Brunswickers reported losing $1.1 million to frauds and scams in 2018, with identity fraud, romance scams, and job scams having the biggest financial impact. This is according to the numbers reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, although the number of reports they received decreased from the previous year. 

“In 2017, New Brunswickers reported losing $1.4 million to frauds and scams,” said Rick Hancox, CEO of FCNB. “While this year’s report seems like an encouraging decrease in money lost to fraud, we know that many aren’t reporting being victimized so the actual amount lost is likely higher. Every dollar lost to a fraud or scam is one dollar too high.”

According to the 2017 Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) Investor Index for New Brunswick, seven-in-10 New Brunswickers who were approached by investment fraud did not report it. One reason people don’t report is that they were too embarrassed to report the crime when it happened. However, reporting the fraud to the appropriate authorities can help raise awareness and prevent others in the community from being victimized.

“The red flags of fraud are common across all different types of scams,” continued Hancox. “The more people can recognize them, think critically and be vigilant, the fewer victims will suffer from the devastating consequences of fraud.”

Here were the top frauds in 2018 based on data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre:

Identity fraud
Total New Brunswick complaints: 102
Total New Brunswick victims: 100
Reported loss: $203,946

How it works: A fraudster uses your personal information to carry out fraud by obtaining credit in your name. You may be a victim if a creditor informs you it received your credit application, but you did not apply. Another red flag is if a collection agency informs you that they are collecting for a defaulted account in your name, but you never opened the account.

Red flags:
Unusual activity on your credit report: the scammer may use your identity to obtain a loan from a financial institution, which would reflect on your credit report.

Romance fraud
Total New Brunswick complaints: 20
Total New Brunswick victims: 18
Reported loss: $353,361

How it works: Fraudsters create fake profiles on social media and online dating websites to lure potential victims into online relationships. Once they gain the victim’s trust, the fraudster begins making financial requests.

Red flags:
No face-to-face contact: romance scammers will often ask the victim for money to make travel arrangements to meet in person, but will come up with a reason they can’t come after all. As soon as the victim’s money is gone, so are they.

Job scams
Total New Brunswick complaints: 17
Total New Brunswick victims: 5
Reported loss: $208,643

How it works: Typically, the fraudulent job will be posted online for applicants to respond to. In some cases, an interview will take place, and the “successful candidate” will be asked to send a company cheque through their personal bank account as part of their initial job duties. The cheque may look real, but it is actually a fake.  Since it can take up to a week for the bank to determine if a cheque is counterfeit, the person is out potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Red flags:
  • Too good to be true: The opportunity is promoted as a way to get rich quickly, regardless of the candidate’s qualifications or experience.
  • Paying to work: The job requires you to spend your own money to pay start-up costs.
  • Accessing bank accounts: The job requires the employee to send or receive company money through their personal bank account.

“Reporting fraud to the appropriate authorities can help your family and community by making people aware of scams that are targeting them and the red flags that go with them,” said Hancox. “We can help New Brunswickers learn to spot the red flags and protect themselves from being victimized. The red flags of fraud are common across all scams, no matter how the scam artist approaches you.”

24-01-2019

Media Contact:
Sara Wilson, Senior Communications Officer, 506 643-7045 or 1 866 933-2222. sara.wilson@fcnb.ca

FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.

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FCNB warning consumers to practice due diligence with door-to-door salespeople
by FCNB on 




FCNB warning consumers to practice due diligence with door-to-door salespeople

The Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) is warning New Brunswick consumers about high pressure sales tactics being used by some door-to-door salespeople who are offering to install heating and cooling systems.

Consumers have reported to FCNB that door-to-door salespeople have been offering free installation of items such as heating and cooling systems within a short time frame, and they have been:
  • asking people to sign documents electronically without providing consumers time to read the details
  • failing to provide copies of contracts
  • failing to adequately discuss payment options and misleading consumers into thinking they are renting equipment versus applying for financing
  • distracting or pressuring consumers and preventing them from making an informed decision

As a result, consumers were not aware of the full implications of the arrangement until after items were already installed in their home.
To protect yourself, FCNB wants you to know what to consider when dealing with direct sellers. Consumers are urged to ask questions, to not be pressured into making a decision, to do research and to read all contracts when approached to purchase products or services from a door-to-door salesperson. When a deal sounds too good to be true, it very well could be.

In some cases, it appears the salespeople may not have been licensed to sell door-to-door in the province. FCNB is currently looking in to these reports. Door-to-door salespeople must be licensed by FCNB, and carry their licence with them. New Brunswickers should always ask to see the licence when a salesperson comes to their home. Salespeople are also required to provide copies of the contract to the consumer; and the law provides for a 10-day cancellation period for any good or service sold through a direct sale.
 
For more best practices when interacting with door-to-door salespeople, click here to visit our website and learn more. Consumers who have concerns about a door-to-door salesperson should contact FCNB at 1-866-933-2222 or info@fcnb.ca.

11-01-2019

Media Contact:
Sara Wilson, Senior Communications Officer, 506 643-7045 or 1 866 933-2222. sara.wilson@fcnb.ca

FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.

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TydeCoyn.ca Dupes Would-be Investors with Education around Cryptocurrencies and Scams
by FCNB on 

 



TydeCoyn.ca Dupes Would-be Investors with Education around Cryptocurrencies and Scams

 

Some people interested in investing New Brunswick’s coastline received more of an education than they were bargaining for when they clicked on a fake investment scheme that was designed to raise awareness about the risks of cryptocurrencies and frauds.

 

There has been a rise in cryptocurrencies, which has led to an emerging form of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) fundraising, which is similar to crowdfunding. ICOs are becoming popular among business start-ups to get investors to buy into an idea in exchange for digital tokens or coins.

 

As part of Investor Education Month in October, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) created TydeCoyn.ca, a fake website hyping a too-good-to-be-true investment opportunity. Anyone who clicked on the “invest now” or “get more information” links were led to FCNB’s education and fraud awareness resources.

 

“This website was developed to educate New Brunswick consumers about the all-too-real dangers of participating in ICOs,” shared Erin King, FCNB’s Senior Education and Website Officer. “Investors may be promised high potential returns, but the reality is that participating in an ICO is very risky.  We want investors to consider the risks as well as the opportunities when considering digital assets.”

 

ICOs have become a fertile ground for fraudsters, who are pretending to be involved in blockchain technology, ICOs and cryptocurrencies to scam investors. Fraudsters can easily build an attractive website and load it with language to lure investors into a phony deal. The TydeCoyn website was built to include many of the classic warning signs of fraud, including vague testimonials, promises of guaranteed returns, and a countdown clock to show time is running out.

 

Interested investors should be aware that there is a very high risk of failure for ICOs. If the business does not successfully complete the project, the coins or tokens it issued may have no use, or value, at all. Investors need to be asking critical questions to ensure the opportunity is in fact legitimate and that it’s the right investment for their needs.

 

“Unlike an initial public offering (IPO), most ICOs are made without following formal disclosure requirements,” said King. “As a result, it is often difficult to find out who is behind the ICO and how the money raised will be spent. Interested investors should not participate unless they are emotionally and financially able to assume the risk of losing their entire investment.”

 

Investor Education Month is a national initiative, held in October, that aims to highlight the importance of investor education and provide Canadians with helpful information on investing. FCNB has many articles and other tools for investors when it comes to digital assets on its website.

 

3-Dec-2018


Media Contact:


Sara Wilson, Senior Communications Officer, 506 643-7045 or 1 866 933-2222. sara.wilson@fcnb.ca


FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.


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Unlicensed online payday lenders are operating in New Brunswick
by FCNB on 



Unlicensed online payday lenders are operating in New Brunswick


Unlicensed online payday lenders are targeting New Brunswickers, warns the Financial and Consumer Services Commission.


FCNB has been receiving complaints from consumers about inappropriate collection practices by payday lending businesses not licensed to operate in the province.


“We are hearing that these businesses are contacting consumers who have fallen behind in their payments at their place of employment and in some cases, threatening to seek repayment from their employer. Sometimes they are contacting them up to 50 times a day,” said Alaina Nicholson, director of Consumer Affairs at FCNB. “It is against the law for a payday lender in the province to contact you at your place of work, or to contact your employers or coworkers to collect a payday loan that is late.”


Since the implementation of the Cost of Credit Disclosure and Payday Loans Act on Jan. 1, payday lenders in New Brunswick must be licensed by FCNB.


Using licensed lenders helps protect consumers from predatory lending practices. Some of these protections include: interest rate caps, disclosure requirements and cancellation options.


Payday loans are high-cost loans. New Brunswick legislation caps the cost of a payday loan at $15 per $100 borrowed, which is the equivalent of 392 per cent interest. Consumers need to understand the cost of borrowing before agreeing to a payday loan. It is also important for them to consider all the options available to find the right solution for their short-term borrowing situation.


Consumers are cautioned that some of the online businesses that are offering payday loans and are not licensed in New Brunswick (and some are not licensed in any Canadian province). These businesses include:


  • Truepaydayloan.ca
  • cash2gonow.com
  • cashbuddy500.com
  • cashflow500.ca
  • cashflow500payday.com
  • creditmontreal500.com
  • fastmoneyloans.ca
  • nationalpaydayloan.ca
  • Paydayking500.com
  • pretsohben.com
  • Rapidpaydayloans.net
  • royalfinances.ca
  • solutions500.com
  • speedypayloans.ca


Consumers can check if a payday lender is licensed by contacting the Financial and Consumer Services Commission. FCNB also has resources on its website to help consumers become educated on the importance of using licensed payday lenders, as well as help them understand their rights and responsibilities when using a payday lender.

26-11-2018


Media Contact:


Sara Wilson, Senior Communications Officer, 506 643-7045 or 1 866 933-2222. sara.wilson@fcnb.ca


FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.


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FCNB launching Financial Wellness Challenge
by FCNB on 




FCNB launching Financial Wellness Challenge

Get financially fit while having fun with the Financial and Consumer Services Commission’s (FCNB) 30-day financial wellness challenge. The challenge “Sweatin’ to Financial Wellness” is on to celebrate Financial Literacy Month, which takes place every November.

To encourage participation, FCNB is circulating a promotional video that parodies Sweatin’ to the Oldies exercise videos. The video introduces four weekly challenges: Budget Breather, Debt Detox, Spending Cleanse and Saving Steppers. Participants can register for the challenge at FCNB.ca.



“Talking about money can be daunting, but it does not have to be,” said Erin King, FCNB’s Senior Education and Website Officer. “Our promotional video is meant to be light-hearted and fun—and will hopefully get people talking and taking action. By participating in our challenge, New Brunswickers can learn steps to be more financially fit with the chance to win prizes.”

According to the Canadian Payroll Association, nearly half of Atlantic Canadians live paycheque to paycheque, and 45 per cent  feel overwhelmed by debt. Studies have linked money stress to high blood pressure, insomnia, depression and other health problems. 

“These studies reveal that financial or money stress can have big, long-term impacts on people’s lifestyle, happiness and health,” said King. “Having open conversations and getting on track financially can help change these patterns.”

Financial Literacy Month is a nationwide initiative, led by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). The month is dedicated to sharing resources for Canadians to take control of their finances and reduce financial stress. FCNB’s ‘Sweatin’ to Financial Wellness’ challenge builds on the national theme: Invest in your financial well-being. 

Each week of Financial Literacy Month will have its own theme:
  • Week 1 (November 1-3): Invest in your financial well-being
  • Week 2 (November 4-10): Have a plan to pay off your debt
  • Week 3 (November 11-17): Make informed decisions
  • Week 4 (November 18-24): Start good habits early
  • Week 5 (November 25-30): Take control of your finances

The FCAC ensures federally regulated financial entities comply with consumer protection measures, promotes financial education and raises consumers’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities.

“Each year during Financial Literacy Month, I am thrilled to see the creative ways that the Financial and Consumer Services Commission supports our shared objectives of strengthening Canadians’ financial literacy,” said Jane Rooney, Financial Literacy Leader of Canada with FCAC. “I know that the FCNB’s fun and engaging challenge will help New Brunswickers make the right moves to improve their financial fitness by investing in their financial well-being.”

FCNB will also share tools and resources throughout the month to help New Brunswickers manage their finances, including a free budget template to help track expenses and prioritize spending, the Make It Count! guide for parents and teachers, blogs and two 3 Minute Money videos.

“FCNB has resources that can help New Brunswickers invest in their financial well-being,” said King. “Reducing financial burden and stress contributes greatly to your overall health and wellness, and we want to encourage New Brunswickers to take control of their finances.”

01-11-2018

Media Contact:

Sara Wilson, Senior Communications Officer, 506 643-7045 or 1 866 933-2222. sara.wilson@fcnb.ca

FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.



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Investor Education Month: informed investors can avoid losing their money
by FCNB on 


Investor Education Month: informed investors can avoid losing their money

As part of Investor Education Month, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission encourages investors to take steps to inform and protect themselves regarding a variety of new ways to invest online, particularly regarding initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies.

“ICOs, cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are emerging investment products. However, they are extremely risky and can be fertile ground for fraud,” said Erin King, the commission’s senior education and website officer. “We aim to provide investors with information about how to recognize a legitimate opportunity, and with the tools to make an informed decision about purchasing.”

The rise in cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, has enabled the creation of ICOs. While there is a lot of media coverage about these new types of digital assets and investment products, many people do not fully understand the risks or how they work. Being informed helps protect investors from falling prey to either outright fraud, or to making investments in products that are riskier than their individual comfort level allows.

ICOs are becoming popular among business start-ups to get investors to buy into an idea in exchange for digital tokens or coins. For those looking to invest, it is important to understand that ICOs may not be proven ventures with a product or service, and may be nothing more than ideas or concepts at the time that investors are sought.

ICOs have a high risk of failure. If the business does not successfully complete the project, the coins or tokens it issued may have no value. Investors may be promised high returns, but they should not participate unless they are prepared to lose their entire investment.
Additionally, fraudsters are pretending to be involved in ICOs, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, as a means of scamming money. Unlike an initial public offering (IPO), most ICOs are made without following formal disclosure requirements. As a result, it is often difficult to find out who is behind the ICO and how the money raised will be spent.

“Being an informed investor means doing research and understanding how a particular investment works, what the risks are, and understanding there is no such thing as a risk-free investment,” said King. “In some cases, people may feel pressured into making an investment to get rich quick. The bottom line is, if you do not understand how an investment works, do not invest.”

During the month, the commission will be sharing information about investing online and outlining some of the risks:

  • ICOs may try to entice investors through free token give-aways or token rewards for promoting the investment through social media.
  • Some digital assets offerings are pyramid schemes. If you must pay to join, and making money is based upon how many people you can recruit, it is a pyramid scheme and is illegal.

To help raise awareness the commission is launching an investor challenge with a chance to win prizes during Investor Education Month. Throughout the month, its online trivia game Fortune will have questions related to these types of investments. New Brunswickers are encouraged to challenge their friends, while they learn more about being an informed investor and the risks of ICOs. The top three players at the end of October will receive prizes.

To learn more about being an informed investor and cryptocurrencies click on the following links:

Sara Wilson, Senior Communications Officer, 506 643-7045 or 1 866 933-2222. sara.wilson@fcnb.ca

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Credit reporting act aims to provide clarity and protection for consumers
by FCNB on 


Credit reporting act aims to provide clarity and protection for consumers


New consumer protection laws related to credit reporting, credit repair and debt settlement will take effect Oct. 1.


The Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) will administer and enforce the new Credit Reporting Services Act, which regulates credit reporting agencies and restricts certain activities of credit repair agencies.


“These new rules improve consumer protection in New Brunswick by providing clarity for consumers around what to expect from a credit reporting agency,” said Alaina Nicholson, the FCNB’s director of consumer affairs. “The rules require credit reporting agencies to collect, maintain and report your credit and personal information accurately and responsibly.”


The act and supporting rules make it a requirement for credit reporting agencies to be licensed. They also specify what information must be maintained in an agency’s files, as well as what can be included in a consumer’s credit report. The act and rules are meant to protect consumers’ privacy when a credit report is requested.

A credit reporting agency collects and maintains information regarding an individual’s credit history from sources such as banks, utility providers and telecommunications, mortgage and credit card companies. This information is used to create a credit score, which is used by lenders to determine the risk an individual represents with respect to paying back debt. Credit reports can have great influence over the lives of consumers, as the reports are used to determine eligibility for loans, housing and, sometimes, jobs.


Credit repair agencies offer to help consumers repair their credit rating for fees, and it is important for consumers to understand what these companies can and cannot do when offering such services. The only way to rectify poor credit is to adopt sound repayment practices for a period of time.


“The new act and rules also set out rules and restrictions on the activities of credit repair agencies in areas such as contract cancellation and charging advance fees to the consumer for their services,” said Nicholson. “Credit repair agencies are not licensed by any federal or provincial agencies, so this is another positive win for consumer protection.”


Debt settlement companies are usually for-profit companies that offer to negotiate with creditors on behalf of an individual. Typically, they offer a lump sum of money to eliminate the individual’s debt, which tends to be lower than the total debt. They make money from fees that they charge to clients.


Additionally, amendments to the Collection Agencies Act give the commission regulatory responsibilities over debt settlement agencies. These changes aim to enhance consumer protection by requiring agencies that provide debt settlement services to be licensed; be subject to suitability requirements and checks; adhere to specific contract requirements; and be prohibited from certain activities. The amendments also rename the act as the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act.


“We are pleased with these additional rules and amendments as they increase protection for New Brunswick consumers,” said Nicholson. “By clearly outlining consumers’ rights and responsibilities, and defining what these agencies are and are not allowed to do, New Brunswickers will be in a better position to make positive financial decisions.”


More information about credit reporting agencies, credit repair agencies, good credit practices and more is available online.


FCNB has the mandate to protect consumers and enhance public confidence in the financial and consumer marketplace through the provision of regulatory and educational services. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, co-operatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.


28-09-18


MEDIA CONTACT:


Sara Wilson, communications, Financial and Consumer Services Commission, 506-643-7045 or 1-866-933-2222, sara.wilson@fcnb.ca.



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