The Nova Scotia Securities Commission is pleased to provide you with information to assist with making informed investment decisions. We hope that you find the information in this section of the website to be of value and welcome your comments or questions.
Under the link for 'Brochures' you can view and download our informative publications or use the order form to order hard copies. Read our 'Investment Frauds and Scams' section to find out some of the ways people are conned into bad investment schemes. There is also a link to current scams which are operating.
'Resource Links' provides you with a host of options to obtain additional financial information including money management and contests which are fun and educational. The 'Young Investor' section is specifically intended to provide financial guidance to our youth through resource links, book suggestions and fun contests.
For additional information regarding Investor Education please contact:
Investor Education Officer
Nova Scotia Securities Commission
1690 Hollis St., 2nd Floor
Halifax N.S., B3J 3J9
- Your Investment Planning Worksheet (English)
- Your Investment Planning Worksheet(French)
- The Basics of Investing (English)
- The Basics of Investing (French)
- Choosing Your Financial Advisor (English)
- Choosing Your Financial Advisor (French)
- Investing and the Internet (English)
- Investing and the Internet (French)
- Mutual Funds (English)
- Mutual Funds (French)
- The Prospectus (English)
- The Prospectus (French)
- Protecting Your Finances
- Characteristics of Various Types of Securities
- RESP Checklist
Brochures may be requested with the Brochure Order Form. Brochures will be mailed to you.
Be Aware of the Warning Signs - Common Characteristics of Frauds and Scams:
- You are guaranteed a high return with little or no risk
- There is a cap on the maximum amount of participation
- Secretive behaviour
- You must make a quick decision or the opportunity will be lost
- Additional pressure tactics
- The request is for a small amount of money hoping the person contacted won't notice, doesn't care or won't do anything about it
- Information on the investment is never mailed to you
- Promises of legitimacy are made
- You are overloaded with information to create confusion
- There is a request to sign blank documents
- Behaving as if they know you and you can trust this person
- Investment sounds too good to be true
Listen to your instincts. If an investment sounds too good to be true, then most likely it is too good to be true.
Common types of Frauds and Scams:
- West African Letter Scam - Letters and/or e-mails are sent from what appear to be high-ranking government officials from a developing country. They claim that they have access to large sums of money and require assistance in getting the money out of their country. All they need from you is your bank account number so that they can transfer the money and in return, they offer a thank you gift of a portion of this money. The individuals then empty the bank account and are never heard from again.
- Affinity Fraud - This fraud occurs in a group setting such as ethnic groups, sports associations, religious groups and social clubs. Scammers will establish credibility by joining groups where they can share common interests. Once trust is gained, they'll ask if anyone is interested in investing but ask that you keep the information secret because it's such a great opportunity. Once the scammer collects money from individuals in the group, they disappear.
- Boiler Room Scams - These scams are called "boiler room scams" because the con artists who call to offer you a "once in a lifetime deal" are usually calling from a room, called a "boiler room", filled with other con artists on the phone doing exactly the same thing. These scams involve individuals placing calls to people claiming to represent a brokerage house. They use high-pressure sales tactics, while offering investors an exceptional deal on stock. The group working the boiler room typically owns most, or all of the stock, which it actively promotes to drive the price up. Once the group has sold all of its holdings, it discontinues promoting the stock. The price of the stock then falls drastically and you lose your money.
- Ponzi Scheme - Also known as a "pyramid scheme" because the people who invest first are at the top of the "pyramid". They make their money by encouraging participants to recruit more investors to the scheme. There is no actual investment; money from previous investors is used to pay new investors to make it appear as if money is being made. The people who join the scheme later on and make up the bottom of the "pyramid", lose out when the scheme runs out of new investors.
- Promissory Notes - Often sold as insurance products, these are short term loans that promise high returns for borrowing money from you at no risk. The companies offering the 'investments' are usually non-existent. Once they have your money, you never hear from them again.
- Canadian Consumer Information Gateway(external link)
- Canadian Consumer Protection for Financial Institution Failures(external link)
- Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF)(external link)
- Canadian Securities Institute(external link)
- Cons, Frauds and Other Lies
- Crimes of Persuasion(external link)
- Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)(external link)
- Financial Services OmbudsNetwork (CFSON)(external link)
- IDA for Investors (external link)
- Investment Funds Institute of Canada, Investor Information (external link)
- Investor Education Fund(external link)
- Investor Education (Alberta) (external link)
- Investor Education (New Brunswick) (external link)
- NASAA Investor Education (external link)
- PACT (Prevention of Crime and Theft) (external link)
- Path to Investing, a Program of the Foundation for Investor Education (external link)
- Phonebusters - An RCMP/OPP "Scam" Site (external link)
- Reporting Economic Crime On-Line (RECOL) (external link)
- Your Money Network (external link)
- Making Allowances: A Dollars and sense Guide to teaching Kids About Money
- Lermitte, Paul. McGraw-Hill, 2002. ISBN 0071398287
- Money Doesn't Grow on Trees: A Parent's Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children
- Godfrey, Neale S. Fireside, 1994. ISBN 0671798057
- Raising Money Smart Kids: What They Need to Know About Money and How to tell Them
- Bodnar, Janet. Dearborn Trade, 2005. ISBN 1419505165
- Money Sense For Kids
- Hollis Page, Harman. Barrons Ednl Series, 2004. ISBN 0764128949
- The Toothpaste Millionaire
- Merrill, Jean. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999. ISBN 0395960630
- Amelia Works It Out
- Moss, Marissa. Pleasant Company Publications, 2000. ISBN1584850809
- Ultimate Kids Money Book
- Godfrey, Neale S. Simon & Schuster, 2002. ISBN 0689814895
- Money Savvy Generation - Helping Kids Get Smart About Money(external link)
- Your Money Network
- Street Cents
- Financial Planners Standards Council - Educating Youth
- Junior Achievement
- Make It Your Biz_Niz!