Financial Self-Defense

If you're picking up debts to get your education, you need to learn more than just financial literacy skills. You need to learn financial self-defense!

These links will help you get started…

The 'Complaint Courier'

Do you have a consumer complaint but don't know how to present it effectively? Your complaint could be about any consumer issue, from unfair retail practices to illegal harassment by a collection agency.

This federal government link walks you through a simple 6-step process for making an effective complaint. It also helps you search for laws that protect you (including banking legislation) as well as legal options if your complaint gets ignored.

If you want to learn how the 'system' works, the Complaint Courier is a truly educational link.

Banking Blues?

While the 'Complaint Courier' (above) includes financial services, you can find specialized information here if you're having problems with your bank or other financial institution.

The Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) is an independent, no-charge service for resolving disputes over banking services.

Here's where you can find out how to present your complaint to your bank. And if you're not satisfied with the bank's response, here's how to get help from OBSI.


'Privacy Town', Then and Now

A couple of years ago, Canada's Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) set up an easy-to-navigate system called Privacy Town. This helped you gain back some control of how your personal information is being handled in our electronic age.

'Privacy Town' didn't specifically address student loans, despite growing scandals in the USA over the marketing of students' personal information entrusted to some lenders and universities.

'Privacy Town' also referred to some companies being covered by PIPEDA, such as insurance companies operating in schools, but then stated that the schools themselves are not covered.

PIPEDA is Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Btw, here is Wikipedia's take on PIPEDA.

As you may have guessed from the 'past tense' here, 'Privacy Town' is now offline. However, the OCA still has the basic information online. It even has a new Spam IQ test. 

Check out OCA's privacy and identity theft info (including links to the Privacy Protection Guide, Privacy Code and Privacy Checklist) right here.


Anti-Fraud Videos


The Bank of Canada posts a set of short videos intended for retailers, but these can also be helpful for the rest of us.

The topics are identity fraud, payment card fraud, counterfeit bank notes and cheque or money order fraud.

You can see these videos here.


Before You Sign a Contract...


The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) prepared this list of 10 Things you Need to Know before you sign any kind of financial contract.