Monday, 30 September 2013

Why it's important to maintain a healthy credit record

While going for a regular health check up is extremely important for leading a happy life, it is equally necessary not to overlook your credit health especially at a time when credit plays an essential role while taking major decisions like buying a house or a car.

You may ask why it is necessary to maintain a well planned credit health strategy. Well it always come handy when you wish to avail loans, credit cards, or open a bank account, as well as other credit facilities.

First, a credit score speaks volumes about your character and your capacity. That is why it is implicitly agreed that these two attributions are the two most important C’s of credit health. If you are responsible in handling your finances, it automatically reflects on your credit report and vice versa.

You credit score is collated by credit bureaux like Cibil and Equifax and they gather your credit data using both qualitative and quantitative measures. Quantitatively, it is basically the data furnishers like banks, credit card companies with whom you have had a history of financial transaction. And qualitatively, it is the subjective factors mainly – Character, Capacity, Capital, Collateral and Conditions.

Through these two assessment techniques, credit bureaus can collect all your information that they need to prepare your credit report. Hence, you can see that a lot depends on your history of loan repayments and defaults, credit card bills, etc.

Another thing to keep in mind is that bankers and lenders always check with credit bureaux about your credit report whenever you apply for car loans, home loans, credit cards, telephone communication.

If you score well in your credit report with anything between 700 and 900 points, your loan demand will be easily processed and approved. Moreover, banks generally offer lower rates of interest to those who have a healthy credit score. Therefore, a good credit report means saving more money.

And it’s not just loans and credit cards, a good credit health can help you to further your career also. Wondering how? Well if you apply for a job that requires you to handle company cash and overlook other financial aspects, then in most cases, you will have to agree to allow the company to have a look at your credit history. Logic is very simple, if you are careless about your own money, then you cannot be expected to be responsible with company cash.

Courtesy : Rediff

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Want a house on rent? Check your credit health


Mr. Rakesh just got transferred to Mumbai. Belonging to middle class background, he did not have enough money to have his own house. So he had to find a house on rent. As he had a decent pay, he should get a good house easily. But he was rejected. The reason of rejection was his poor credit history.  Credit history?

Rakesh was unaware of it. Would it restrict him even to get a house on rent?

In the present market scenario, cautious home owners are asking for credit history of the tenants. Surprised? Yes, landlords are checking credit history before giving their house on rent.

Lower class and middle class people who are not financially strong do not have their own house. They live on rent, where they pay a monthly rent. But it is really difficult to hold on to one particular place.

Now a day’s landlords have become very cautious before renting their homes. They don’t wish to take any risk regarding their regular income. They want to be fully satisfied whether the tenant will pay the amount of rent on time and would not default on the payment. So they check credit history before renting. Not only landlord but employers also check the credit history of the employees before they provide job to them.

Credit history is the snapshot of past and current credit relationship. It states whether the individual has been consistent in making all his payments. Credit history nowadays has become an important part of finance. But people are not much responsible as they should be which can make their credit history poor.
Credit score is going to gain importance in many fields soon. As it has not gained importance in India, This will allow companies to find the perfect consumers which will be able to find the perfect consumers for them.

Not only credit history, but landlords also check their credit score. A credit score is a summary of the credit history of individual which ranges from 300 to 900. A score above 700 is considered to be a good score. Individuals with good credit score do not have any problem in their financial life. All their issues are easily solved, but one with bad score is surrounded by issues.

Credit score and history is largely analysed by banks, financial institutions, insurance, telecom & stock broking companies as well. They analyse these things to check the creditworthiness of the individual. They check whether or not the individual will be able to repay their amount.

These credit scores and credit history of an individual are calculated by credit bureaus. These bureaus collect data from sources like banks, financial institutions, etc. The major credit bureaus in India are CIBIL, Experian, Equifax and High Mark. Every bureau has a different method of calculating their score. Based on the score calculated by the bureaus banks and other financial institutions they check the creditworthiness of individual.

With landlords becoming cautious and rising importance of credit health in the real estate sector, individuals with poor credit health will face many difficulties in the coming time. Credit score as being not very common concept in our country, individuals really ignores these aspects to add in their financial planning. Individuals should be cautious regarding these aspects. They should make necessary efforts which will help them to repair their credit health.

Courtesy : Yahoo

Friday, 27 September 2013

86% not aware of credit bureau: Survey

Credit Sudhaar, India’s premier Credit Health Improvement Company released the results of its first ever survey on Credit Health in India.

The survey was conducted across 8 cities in India and sampled over 300 respondents.

Credit awareness in India has a long way to go, with more than 85% of the respondents not being aware of what Credit Bureau’s are.

Delhi and Pune led the country with 1 out of 4 respondent being aware of Credit Bureaus.

In fact, a whopping 92% of respondents are unaware of their credit scores. Delhi, Bangalore and Pune had more than 10% respondents knowing their score.

“The primary objective of conducting the survey was to understand the cause and effect analysis of clients who have been through credit impairments. In other words, we wanted to understand the reasons for the unavailability of credit to clients due to negative credit history and a low credit score," said Arun Ramamurthy, Founder, Credit Sudhaar.

"The survey revealed that 91% of the customers were not aware of the impact of non-payment of credit dues. We feel that a lot of this could have been avoided if they would have been aware of their credit health and the impact of non-payment of credit dues.

"We also realized during the survey that penetration of professional credit counseling is almost nonexistent in India, which leaves space for presence of credit advisory services,” said Ramamurthy.

While a mere 4% had reviewed their Credit score in last 1 year, 98% of the respondents who took the survey were unable to comprehend the report that was shared with them.

The survey revealed protection of credit as a major concern as none of the respondent had taken any steps to protect their identity from theft.

Even as will is an important tool when it comes to securing inheritance and ensuring a dispute free transfer of assets.

Only 1% of the respondents have made a will and further more had no idea or will to make or understanding of a will. On tax optimization front, only 17% of the customers have taken help from an expert.

As a part of the survey, Credit Sudhaar analyzed 2116 Credit Bureau Reports and accordingly analyzed the details reported in the Bureau reports with the individuals. Based on the analysis errors were identified in 557 reports of unique individuals.

Another part of the survey was aimed to understand the penetration of major credit bureaus in Indian market, specifically with major financial institutions.

It was evident that CIBIL is the bureau most of the institutions upload their data to whereas Equifax is a close second. In terms of Microfinance lending, the market is dominated by Highmark and Equifax.

“We undertook this survey to understand and analyze certain parameters related to overall understanding of credit profile of an individual at a retail level and its inroads in Indian Market and context. Consumer Survey on Patterns and behavior of individual credit profiling in India, Credit Impairment, Impact of Errors in Credit Bureau reports and Credit Bureaus and their penetration in Financial Institutions in India were the four major aspects in which we have studied this survey," said Gaurav Wadhwani, Co-founder, Credit Sudhaar.

"The results suggests a wide gap between where clients need to be and where they are in terms of their awareness and overall understanding of Credit.,” he said.

Courtesy : India Blooms

Thursday, 26 September 2013

One In 4 Credit Reports Have An Error: Report

A study by Credit Sudhaar, a company that works towards improving individual credit history, revealed that one in four credit reports have some kinds of 'error', while one in five has major mistakes. 
The result is based on analysis of 2,116 credit reports of Credit Information Bureau of India (CIBIL), the country's largest credit bureau company.
Credit report can have mistakes such as wrong name, address, identity number (PAN, Aadhar), even gender or date of birth. These are though not significant considering they do not necessarily ruin your credit report. The one which can include wrong loan being attributed to you, amount overdue shown is much higher than you availed of, etc. 
There can be mistakes in the date of payment, account status (paid, defaulted, settled, disputed), date of closure of loans etc. These mistakes in credit report, if not addressed in time, can lead to de-rating of credit history, resulting in rejection of loan applications or blacklisting by banks.
Arun Ramamurthy, co-founder, Credit Sudhaar, said that the findings in terms of frequency of errors in credit reports were not a surprise for them. "In the US with advanced methods of mapping and data collection, the figures are similar," he said.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted Credit Sudhaar showed complete lack of awareness about credit reports and credit bureau among borrowers. According to the survey, 92 per cent of those surveyed did not know what their credit scores were, while 85 per cent of them were not even aware of credit bureau. The survey also revealed that 91 per cent of the respondents were not aware of the impact of non-payment of credit dues.
While only 4 per cent had reviewed their credit score in last one year, 98 per cent of the respondents were unable to comprehend the report that was shared with them. 
The survey was conducted across 8 cities in India and sampled over 300 respondents.
India has four credit bureaus - CIBIL, Equifax, Experian and High Mark. CIBIL is the largest and the oldest credit bureau in the country.

Courtesy : Business Today

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Most People Lack Awareness About Creditworthiness: Survey

NEW DELHI: Most borrowers in the country are unaware about the fallout of defaulting on loan payments as well as presence of systems to rate their creditworthiness, says a survey.
As many as 91 per cent of the respondents were found to be lacking awareness about the adverse impact of not paying their loan dues, according to Credit Sudhaar, a leading credit health improvement company.
The survey, which covered more than 300 people across eight cities, also found that about 85 per cent of the people did not have any idea about the presence of credit bureaus -- entities that maintain database of borrowers and help lenders to check their creditworthiness while giving away loans.
Delhi and Pune led with 1 out of 4 respondent being aware of Credit Bureaus. Besides, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune had more than 10 per cent respondents knowing their score.
"The primary objective of conducting the survey was to understand the cause and effect analysis of clients who have been through credit impairments. In other words, we wanted to understand the reasons for unavailability of credit to clients due to negative credit history and a low credit score," Credit Sudhar Co-founders Arun Ramamurthy and Gaurav Wadhwani said.
The survey revealed protection of credit as a major concern as none of the respondent had taken any steps to protect their identity from theft.
Moreover, 92 per cent of respondents are unaware of their credit scores -- ratings given by credit bureaus.
Besides, a mere four per cent of the people surveyed have checked their credit scores in last one year and 98 per cent of respondents could not decipher a sample credit report when they were shown one.
"The survey revealed that 91 per cent of the customers were not aware of the impact of non-payment of credit dues," Ramamurthy and Wadhwani said.
"We feel that a lot of this could have been avoided if they would have been aware of their credit health and the impact of non-payment of credit dues. We also realised during the survey that penetration of professional credit counselling is almost nonexistent in India, which leaves space for presence of credit advisory services," they added.

Courtesy : Good Returns

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

No idea how much creditworthy you are? Relax, you are not alone

MOST borrowers in the country are unaware about the fallout of defaulting on loan payments as well as presence of systems to rate their creditworthiness, says a survey.

As many as 91 per cent of the respondents were found to be lacking awareness about the adverse impact of not paying their loan dues, according to Credit Sudhaar, a leading credit health improvement company.

The survey, which covered more than 300 people across eight cities, also found that about 85 per cent of the people did not had any idea about the presence of credit bureaus — entities that maintain database of borrowers and help lenders to check their creditworthiness while giving away loans.

Delhi and Pune led with one out of four re

spondent being aware of credit bureaus. Besides, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune had more than 10 per cent respondents knowing their score.
“The primary objective of conducting the survey was to understand the cause and effect analysis of clients who have been through credit impairments. In other words, we wanted to understand the reasons for unavailability

of credit to clients due to negative credit history and a low credit score,” Credit Sudhar co-founders Arun Ramamurthy and Gaurav Wadhwani said.

The survey revealed protection of credit as a major concern as none of the respondent had taken any steps to protect their identity from theft.

Moreover, 92 per cent of respondents were unaware of their credit scores

— ratings given by credit bureaus.
Besides, a mere 4 per cent of the people surveyed had checked their credit scores in last one year and 98 per cent of respondents could not decipher a sample credit report when they were shown one.

The survey revealed that 91 per cent of the customers were not aware of the impact of non-payment of credit dues, Ramamurthy and Wadhwani said.

“We feel that a lot of this could have been avoided if they would have been aware of their credit health and the impact of non-payment of credit dues. We also realised during the survey that penetration of professional credit counselling is almost nonexistent in India, which leaves space for presence of credit advisory services,” Credit Sudhar co-founders added.

Courtesy : Financial Chronicle

Monday, 23 September 2013

Home loan: Check your credit score

Owning your own home is one of the finest feelings in the world. Nothing beats the sense of achievement and security when you first open the door to your brand new home. Purchasing your own home involves thorough planning and research and the most crucial factor which influences your decision is your financial ability. It makes sense to get all your reports and inspections completed before scouting for a house or applying for loan.
The low ticket home loans have decreased by half to 22 per cent of all loans during the last five years because of steep increase in property prices. As per the data by the Credit Information Bureau (Cibil), about 75 per cent of new accounts opened in 2011 had sanctioned amounts between R 5 lakh and R 50 lakh. This also means that the shift is clearly towards higher value loans, indicating property price rise and higher borrowing affordability. For instance, in 2011, approximately 48 per cent of the total home loans sanctioned in metro cities had a ticket size of more than R 20 lakh.

According to figures from Cibil, home loan enquiries have more than doubled from first quarter (Q1) of 2007 to third quarter (Q3) of 2011. The first three quarters of 2011 show an increase in home loan enquiries by 21 per cent over the same period last year.

The trends of acquisition of new home loans by banks show that in 2008, 23 per cent of new home loan borrowers acquired, were in the least risky segment. In Q2 2011, more than 62 per cent borrowers acquired were in the least risky segment. This indicates that banks are becoming more diligent in acquiring new customers. The credit score in India has fast become an integral risk assessment tool for banks and financial institutions for sanctioning any new credit. Data also shows that banks' home loan customer acquisition quality has also increased, with 62.3 per cent of the enquiries being least risky with credit score of over 800. More than 88 per cent of new home loan borrowers acquired in 2011 had a score of 750 and above. Credit score assigned to a borrower ranges from 300 to 900. The higher your credit score, more likely you are to get your loan application approved. The reason being, closer the score is to 900, the more confidence the banks will have in the individual's ability to repay the loan.

Hence, prior to starting you home loan hunt, you must access your score along with your credit report and assess your eligibility for the loan. However, it is important to understand that each bank will have its own credit scoring cut-off based on the credit sanctioning policies. Though your credit score is vital for your loan applications, banks may consider other critical factors like your income to debt ratio, your residential status, professional qualifications etc

Courtesy : Indian Express

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Credit score: A good credit history for a secured future


Past performance is no guarantee for future returns, is a standard disclaimer used by most mutual funds and insurance companies. But when it comes to your personal finances, your past financial history is a good benchmark of how well you will be treated by lenders.

This is the time of the year when the maximum delinquencies happen on credit score sheets. Juggling between repayments of loans, tax cuts on salaries and renewals of financial policies often prove tough for families. It is a difficult choice, but as credit information companies such as Credit Bureau of India Ltd (CIBIL) would tell you, slipping on credit card and monthly instalments can prove fatal for your ratings.
As credit history plays an increasingly important role in your future transactions it is important to remember which elements in those to keep in shape to make banks look happily at your next loan or credit card appraisal.

Credit history is a snapshot of your past and current credit relationships such as names of banks and financial institutions that have given you loans in the past, the nature, ownership and status of these loans — basically how the figures sum you up. The data is compiled by credit information companies and used by banks and even non-banking financial institutions to create your profile that will determine your interest rates on just about everything. And since those rates, as per a PwC study on finance, accounts for how you spend more than half of your salary, it makes sense to take time to iron out the creases on the credit scores. Their role is expanding. Now going beyond insurers, even telecom companies are using this data to sell products.

So along with CIBIL, Equifax Credit Information Services and Experian Credit Information Company have risen in importance for the economy and for all of us. And yes, they have the legal and regulatory backing to access information from their member banks and assign credit scores to individuals to map their risk profiles.

“Earlier while the banks used to give loans to entities with a score of 600 out of 900 in the CIBIL profile rating, now they mostly prefer a higher rating of around 800,” said Arun Thukral, managing director, Credit Information Bureau of India Limited (CIBIL).
While credit scores are used widely by lenders in countries like the United States for processing loan applications, in India too, banks have become increasingly wary following the 2008 global financial crisis that had its origins in bad housing loans. Further, the tight liquidity conditions in the country over the past one year have made banks more cautious and choosy in giving out loans.

Every credit information company has its own method of calculating credit risk and hence would give a different score. For instance, CIBIL provides credit scores ranging between 300 and 900 to individual consumers by compiling details of bank accounts, loans, credit cards. It considers a score of 700 as essential for getting a loan, but warns that factors such as how recently and frequently a customer has defaulted on a loan payment also plays a role in a credit score.

The score is used as a gauge by lenders to assess an applicant’s risk profile while processing a loan or credit card application. It has also started to provide a risk index between one (high risk) and five (low risk) for individuals with less than six months of credit history.

Apart from the credit report, banks also use other criteria such as employment, income, age and residential address of a potential borrower before approving a loan application. Thakral says that earlier it was largely private sector and foreign banks that reviewed credit history before deciding on loan applications but now even public sector banks have begun to make such enquiries. In fact, the country’s largest lenders — State Bank of India — now also regularly seeks credit information from CIBIL.

Credit Sudhaar is a credit health improvement company which Restores, Enhances and Protects the credit of the individual.

Credit Sudhaar has launched a new product in its product line, "CS Identity Shield" whose aim is to protect the individuals from various kinds of Identity Theft.

Courtesy : Financial Express

Friday, 20 September 2013

‘Cheaper repeat loans likely for zero-default borrowers’

Repeat loans are soon likely to be cheaper for zero-default borrowers, Credit Information Bureau (India) said on Wednesday. The credit score of every individual or organisation who avails loans is calculated on a scale of 300 to 900, and borrowers having a score of 750 and above are considered to be very creditworthy.

“Since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has categorically mentioned in its report the possible introduction of risk-based pricing, banks in India are taking the cue and implementing it is a scenario that’s likely to open up very soon,” said Cibil senior vice-president Harshala Chandorkar.

“World over, the banks have already moved to this model and there is little doubt that Indian banks, too, will follow this trend. When this happens, this would mean that all those who pay their loans in time could ask for a cheaper rate the next time they avail a loan,” she told FE, at the sidelines of a conference.

RBI has been hinting on this development for a while. “Banks without a formal risk-based pricing approach, typically, use a flat-rate pricing model. The inherent problem with this is the bank will end up having a higher share of lower credit quality loans since the higher credit quality borrowers can obtain better pricing at other banks (i.e., those offering risk-based pricing),” said RBI deputy governor KC Chakrabarty at the inaugural session of a conference of non-executive directors on boards of commercial banks.

Chandorkar, meanwhile, said this creditworthiness-focussed shift has started. “Already, we have been told that some banks in our country, as a customer-friendly approach, have started offering better rates to creditworthy people and this scheme is there in other parts of the world. Very soon reputational collateral would be important in making loan decisions,” she says.

CIBIL is India’s first Credit Information Company (CIC). Though it was founded in 2000 by State Bank of India and HDFC Bank, currently, the biggest shareholder is Trans Union International. It collects and maintains records of an individual’s payments pertaining to loans and credit cards.

Credit Sudhaar is a credit health improvement company which Restore, Enhance and Protects the credit history of the individuals.

Courtesy : Financial Express

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Maintain Healthy Credit History To Avail Of Better Loan Terms

However, loan-seekers complain that while banks decide on extending or denying loans to individuals on the basis of their repayment track record, no discounts in interest rates are offered to diligent borrowers. In effect, 'good' borrowers end up subsidising the 'bad' ones.

Of late, though, banks have been offering concessional terms and conditions to prospective borrowers if their credit history is considered favourable, say credit information companies.
For instance, the loan approval could be quicker, processing charges may be waived or you could be offered a larger home loan.

Also, your credit health impacts the rates of unsecured loans like personal loans, where the interest charged is not uniform for all borrowers. This is because lenders see value in acquiring and retaining customers with healthy credit history.

A blemish-free repayment record often indicates lower chances of default, something that every bank desires. As a borrower, you can negotiate on the basis of a good credit score to gain access to favourable terms and conditions. Credit scores and credit reports can be obtained from credit bureaus.
So, what can a borrower do to bolster his/her credit record and improve the credit score? For starters, he/she will have to understand the reasons behind a low score. It could be due to several reasons, apart from a poor repayment history.

If a bigger portion of your portfolio comprises personal or credit card loans rather than secured debt like home loans, it could adversely affect your score. You need to have a balanced portfolio in order to aim for higher scores. Moreover, ensure that borrowers of loans where you have been the guarantor clear their dues in time. Same would be the case with joint loans, too.

Paying utility bills and cell phone bills as per schedule will also go a long way in improving your credit score, once credit bureaus start incorporating these details into their database

Courtesy : Economic Times

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Steps to Take If You Suspect You're a Victim of Identity Theft


Identity theft can happen in a variety of ways, but regardless of the method, the outcome is still the same: Your personal identifying information has been misused and it could have a serious impact on you, your reputation and your personal records -- including those pertaining to your employment history, health and credit.

If you are the victim of identity theft, what should you do?

Although every identity theft case is unique, the licensed investigators at Kroll Fraud Solutions offer the following general advice for a quick and prudent response to immediate signs of identity theft. Depending on your specific case and situation, you will likely need to supplement these steps with additional activity.

1. Analyze Your Situation

There are multiple types of identity theft. How have you been affected? If you are a victim, your case might involve one or more of the following types of fraud: credit, banking, taxes, employment, government benefits, medical, and criminal.

2. Place a Fraud Alert with a National Credit Reporting Agency (CRA)

Contacting one of the three CRAs reduces the risk of accounts being opened in your name without your authorization. Place the alert by calling either Equifax -- (888) 766-0008, Experian -- (888) 397-3742 or TransUnion -- (800) 680-7289. If you place the alert with one agency, they will notify the other two for you. A fraud alert also affords the right to a free credit report from each credit reporting agency. (See step 9 for more on ordering your credit reports.)

3. Check Your Financial Accounts

Close any accounts that were opened without your permission, and close any of your existing accounts that have seen unauthorized activity.

4. Check Your Computer for Viruses

If you use your computer to access sensitive online accounts, a computer infected with malicious computer programs could allow a hacker to steal sensitive data you may be typing to manage online transactions, such as bank, credit card and other sensitive identification information. If you believe your computer is infected, run your anti-virus program to scan for any viruses that need to be removed.

5. Secure Your Proof of Identity

Expect that you’ll be required to complete and submit an affidavit and provide proof of your identity. The Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Affidavit is widely accepted and can be downloaded here.

6. File a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Share information about your situation with the FTC so they can collect it for possible use by law enforcement across the country. You may file online and print a copy to show to the police when you file your report (see step 7). You may also file a complaint by calling the FTC Identity Theft Hotline at (877) IDTHEFT, or (877) 438-4338.

7. File a Police Report

The police may only take the report as a courtesy and not pursue the matter. However, this step is still helpful to you, because you will need proof you reported the matter to the police. Preparing the FTC ID Theft Complaint beforehand will help you organize the pertinent information.

8. Keep a Record of Your Actions

Log the steps you take to address the situation. Include numbers called, names of people you talked to, dates of calls, faxes and mailings. Keep copies of all correspondence, affidavits, reports, etc.


9. Don’t Ignore the Activity

You must take action to prove you are the victim and that you are not the party responsible for the suspicious activity in question.


Credit Sudhaar has recently launched a new product in its product line i.e CS Identity Shield. This product safeguards you from being a victim of Indentity Theft.

It safeguards you from of various thefts which will allow you to stay credit healthy

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

9 Tips to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Your bank calls you to verify your recent $750 bill at an out-of-state Taco Bell, but you haven’t left town in weeks. You quickly contest the charge and request a new credit card, but when you check your wallet the compromised card is still there. You try to think of shady ATMs or recent cashiers, but nothing comes to mind. Nothing, except the online purchase you made while browsing the Internet at your local coffee shop.

The number of free public Wi-Fi hotspots is growing, but not every hotspot can provide the protection of a private home network. Your notebook, tablet or smartphone’s default settings and firewalls may not be enough to keep you safe from prying eyes while on the go. If you want to keep your information and files secure, read these essential tips for protecting yourself when you’re away from home.

1. Turn Off Sharing
You may share your music library, printers or files, or even allow remote login from other computers on your Wi-Fi network in the privacy of your own home. Unless you disable these settings before connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, anyone else in the vicinity may be able to hack into your PC.

If you’re using a Windows PC, you’ll want to start by opening the advanced sharing settings of the Homegroup section of the Network and Internet settings in the Control Panel. From here, you’ll be able to toggle file and printer sharing as well as network discovery, which will make your computer visible to anyone connected to the same network. For Mac, just go to System Preferences, then Sharing, and make sure none of the options are checked.

2. Get a VPN
The most secure way to browse on a public network is to use a virtual private network. A VPN routes your traffic through a secure network even on public Wi-Fi, giving you all the perks of your private network while still having the freedom of public Wi-Fi.

While free VPN services exist, a paid VPN service guarantees the connection’s integrity. If you regularly connect to unknown networks, setting up a VPN is smart to protect your personal information.

One VPN provider is Private Internet Access, which costs $6.95 monthly and allows for unlimited bandwidth and multiple exit points, which will let you choose which country your network traffic is routed through.

3. Avoid Automatically Connecting to Wi-Fi Hotspots
Your smartphone or tablet may be set to automatically connect to any available Wi-Fi hotspot, a setting that can seriously endanger your privacy. Not only will this allow your device to connect to public networks without your express permission, you may also be automatically connecting to malicious networks set up specifically to steal your information.

Most modern smartphones have this option disabled by default, but this isn’t always the case, and it’s a setting you should always double-check. First, open the Wi-Fi section of your phone’s settings app. If you don’t see an option to disable auto-connecting, you’re already safe. Otherwise, turn this setting off.

4. Use HTTPS
Regular websites transfer content in plain text, making it an easy target for anyone who has hacked into your network connection. Many websites use HTTPS to encrypt the transfer data, but you shouldn’t rely on the website or Web service to keep you protected.

You can create this encrypted connection with the browser extension HTTPS Everywhere. With this plugin enabled, almost all website connections are secured with HTTPS, ensuring that any data transfer is safe from prying eyes.

5. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication means you need two pieces of information to log into an account: One is something you know and the other is something you have. Most often this takes the form of a password and a code sent to your cellphone.

Many popular websites and services support two-factor authentication. This means that even if someone is able to get your password due to a hole in a public Wi-Fi network, they won’t be able to log into your account.

To enable this feature for Gmail, log into your account and open the settings page. Navigate to the Accounts And Import tab and click Other Google Account Settings. The second section will be two-step verification, and you can click Settings to start.

First, enter your phone number and choose whether you’d like a text message or a phone call. Next, Google will send a six-digit code to your phone. Enter this when prompted. Now, whenever you log into Google from a new computer, you’ll be asked to verify your identity by entering both pieces of info.

The login process will now take a few extra seconds when you use a different device, but you can rest peacefully knowing that your account is safe and secure.

6. Confirm the Network Name
Sometimes hackers will set up a fake Wi-Fi network to attract unwitting public Wi-Fi users. The Starbucks public Wi-Fi network might not be named “Free Starbucks Wi-Fi.” Connecting to a fake network could put your device into the hands of a malicious ne’er-do-well.

If you’re not sure if you’re connecting to the official network, ask. If you’re in a cafĂ© or coffee shop, employees will know the name of the official network and help you get connected. If there’s no one around to ask, you may want to move to a different location where you can be sure that the Wi-Fi network isn’t fake.

7. Protect Your Passwords
Using unique passwords for different accounts can help if one of your accounts is compromised. Keeping track of multiple secure passwords can be tricky, so using a password manager such as KeePass or LastPass can help keep you safe and secure.

Both KeePass and LastPass are free, but they store your information in different ways. KeePass keeps an encrypted database file on your computer, while LastPass stores your credentials in the cloud. There are pros and cons to each approach, but both services are completely secure.

8. Turn on Your Firewall
Most OS’s include a built-in firewall, which monitors incoming and outgoing connections. A firewall won’t provide complete protection, but it’s a setting that should always be enabled.

On a Windows notebook, locate your firewall settings in the Control Panel under System And Security. Click on Windows Firewall, then click Turn Windows Firewall On or Off. Enter your administrator password, then verify that the Windows Firewall is on.

These settings are in System Preferences, then Security & Privacy on a Mac. Navigate to the Firewall tab and click Turn On Firewall. If these settings are grayed out, click the padlock icon in the lower left, enter your password, then follow these steps again.

9. Run Anti-Virus Software
Always running up-to-date anti-virus software can help provide the first alert if your system has been compromised while connected to an unsecured network. An alert will be displayed if any known viruses are loaded onto your PC or if there’s any suspicious behavior, such as modifications to registry files.

While running anti-virus software might not catch all unauthorized activity, it’s a great way to protect against most attacks.

In India, Credit Sudhaar is one of the credit health improvement companies, which has recently launched a new product CS Identity Shield which helps in protecting your identity from theft

Courtesy : Blog.laptopmag.com

Monday, 16 September 2013

How Can Online Banking Turn Into A Threat To Your Internet Security?

It’s 10 p.m. You just got home after a hard long day of work. You sit down on the sofa to catch your breath. Suddenly, you see your phone bill on the table. The same bill that’s been lying there for days, waiting to be paid, will become overdue in two hours! And you certainly don’t want that. Well, good thing there’s online banking. With just a few clicks you log into your bank account and make the transaction. Simple. Fast. Safe. Now you can have a good night’s sleep… Or can you? – Did you know that cyber-crooks are after your banking credentials?

An increasing number of people have started to use the online banking service for convenience and peace of mind. And cyber-crooks are aware of that. That’s why they’re constantly investing their efforts into new scams to get your financial data. This includes compromising your internet security and outwitting banks’ security systems.


How can cyber-criminals compromise you while banking online?

Banks and financial institutions have put much effort into internet security measures to protect you from fraud while banking online. You’re probably familiar with the “two-factor authentication security method” – the bank provides you with a security token, which generates a pseudo-random number for you to use at login, along with other credentials. What if fraudsters managed to over-rule this security measure during your attempt to log into your online bank account? A test conducted by BBC’s Click programme in early February 2012 showed that they can.

To protect yourself from cyber-criminals’ malicious wit, you have to first know what techniques they use to breach your internet security and get to your money.

 Man-in-the-browser attacks. With the use of financial malware (usually the notorious Zeus Trojan) cyber-criminals can bypass your bank’s two-factor authentication process and manipulate your browser to show a malicious webpage when you try to log into your bank account. The malicious page looks exactly like the one usually displayed by your bank’s website, the only difference is that it asks you for private details that your bank normally wouldn’t, and that enable hackers to take over your account. They can change the amount, destination bank and account, and afterwards, they can alter your account balance to make everything in your bank statement look normal. As you can imagine, a man-in-the-browser attack can throw you into a deep dark internet security loophole.

 Phishing schemes. Fraudsters start sending e-mails in an attempt to capture your banking credentials and other security details. A phishing e-mail usually looks as though it comes from your bank and asks you to check your current account details by clicking on a link. However, this link leads you to a malicious website similar to the one of your bank. Once you enter your details, fraudsters can get hold of them. At this point, your internet security and bank account are compromised.

 Money mules. Cyber-crooks can use intermediaries to transfer stolen money overseas. And the intermediary can be… you, the “money mule”. They can contact you via e-mail, pose as a trustworthy entity and persuade you to accept money into your bank account for a legitimate reason, apparently. Then, they ask you to transfer money to other accounts in return for a fee. As a money mule, you can be accused of the stealing the money, even though you had no idea the transactions were illegal. In this type of scam, not only your internet security is put at risk, but your physical freedom also.

 Hardware and Software keyloggers. Cybercrooks can use small devices they attach to your computer, or pieces of malware they spread over the web and via e-mail attachments, to covertly record your keystrokes. While you have no idea of their existence, fraudsters can find out your PIN, passwords and other internet security information and use them to their advantage.

All of these scams can turn a simple online banking session into an internet security threat. The safety of your financial data and identity are at stake here. So what should you do?

Credit Sudhaar has launched a new product CS Identity Shield which will help you to be protected from all such identity crimes

Courtesy : Bull Guard 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Why Being 'Credit Healthy' Is Important

It is a common practice these days to go for a complete health check up quarterly or half yearly. But have you ever considered checking up your credit health? Being physically and mentally sound is no wonder a prerequisite for a happy life. But, at the same time, it will be only foolish to overlook you credit health especially at a time when credit plays a very important role while taking major decisions like buying a house or a car. You have to be equally vigilant – in fact do your best to maintain a satisfactory health of your credit life just like you would do for your own health.  
The need for a well planned credit health strategy might not seem very significant at first glance. However, its importance will surface when you have to avail loans, credit cards, account opening and all other kinds of credit facilities. But firstly, you have to know that a credit score speaks volumes about your character and your capacity. That is why it is implicitly agreed that these two attributions are the two most important C’s of credit health. If you are responsible in handling your finances, it automatically reflects on your credit report and vice versa. 
The qualitative aspect of the way your credit is calculated, you can find out how this impacts on the quantitative side of it. Credit score is a numerical expression based on points system ranging from 300 to 900 points. If you manage to score between 700 to 900 points then it is a high scoring credit report.
Now that you are aware of what a credit score is, you should also know how it is intricately related to your day to day life and why it is important to maintain a healthy credit report card. If the credit report is satisfactory i.e. you have commendable credit points, only then will the bank approve your loan. Not only in the case of loans, but also while applying for a telephone connection, applying for jobs, insurance premia, rentals and a lot more. 
Another thing to keep in mind is that bankers and lenders always check with credit bureaus about your credit report whenever you apply for car loans, house loans, credit cards, telephone communication. If you score well in your credit report with anything between 700 to 900 points, your demand will be easily processed and approved. Moreover, banks generally ask for lower rates of interest for those who have a healthy credit score. Therefore you can see that a good credit report is equally linked to saving more money and duly increasing your bank balance. 
Besides loans and credit cards, another very important factor of life that is at times, if not always, influenced by your credit health is your career. This might come as an interesting revelation for you because not many can comprehend the link between credit score and job prospects. Well, it may not affect much if you are applying for an entry level position. But if you are going to going to be posted where you need to handle cash and overlook the financial aspect of the company, you will surely have to give your potential employers the right to go through your credit report because, if you don’t then it obviously gives a wrong impression. 
Credit Sudhaar is a credit health improvement company run by professionals who have experience in Credit Analytics and Credit Research.

Courtesy : Yahoo