Thursday, 31 July 2014

Protecting Your Credit Score Is Crucial


As we all know that credit score plays a very important role in availing any line of credit for any individual. Apart from individual, banks and financial institutions also provide credit to companies based on their credit score. 
 
Firstly let us understand what a credit score is and how it is derived. 
 
Credit Score is a three digit numerical figure which describes the creditworthiness of the individual and also for any company. Credit score ranges from 0 to 900 for all the bureaus. Credit score is calculated from the credit report provided by the credit bureaus of the country. 
 
In India, the major credit bureaus are CIBIL, Experian and Equifax. These bureaus provide credit report based on the information provided by the member banks and financial institutions. These bureaus collate all the data received from the banks and financial institutions and provide credit report to individuals as well as to the companies. 
 
 Credit Score plays an important role in the financial planning. Being an important aspect of the ones financial planning, many individuals do not take credit score very seriously. 
 
A recent survey reveals that 1 of 4 individuals have the awareness about the bureaus. Also as per the survey, 92% are unaware of credit score. Not only that, it was also unbelievable that 98% of the individuals were unable to understand the credit report provided by the credit bureaus. 
 
It is really important for individuals to be aware about the credit bureaus and credit score. For individuals who are aware about credit score and credit bureaus, they are not aware about the parameters that are important for improving their credit health. 
 
For improving ones credit score, they need to work on the below important parameters: 
 
•    Length of Credit History
•    New Credit 
•    Types of Credit 
•    Income Expense Ratio
•    Debt Income Ratio, etc
 
Having proper knowledge on the above parameters and working properly on the same will help individuals and companies to improve their credit score. 
 
Many individual think that making payments on time for their debts will help to improve their credit score, but this is not the case. There are other various parameters which are crucial for improving their credit score and credit health. 
 
Also checking your credit report from time to time will help to keep a track on the lines of credit that you have taken. It also helps you to trace out those accounts which are not applied by you. Checking your credit report frequently will help you to protect yourself from Identity theft.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Yahoo

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Financial Start-up 'Credit Sudhaar' To Expand Base In UP

Credit Sudhaar, a start-up company offering 'credit health improvement' services, is keen to expand customers' base in Uttar Pradesh, where it claimed loan default rate is higher.
 
The company has launched a drive to increase awareness amongst people about the importance of good credit health for seeking loans.
 
"India has entered a territory where the past credit history of a person would define whether he/she would get loans from banks and financial institutions and at what rate," Credit Sudhaar co-founder Gaurav Wadhawani said here.
 
He asserted since the default rate in UP was high, the lenders were either hesitant to offer loans or charge a higher interest rate.
 
"The problem is accentuated by the fact that most people are unaware about credit bureau and the importance of maintaining a good credit score," he noted.
 
He said credit health had several components including financial track record, credit score, income-expense ratio, delinquency status, debt burden, ability to access credit on favourable terms. It is based on a person's past and current borrowings and repayments.
 
"Our aim is to promote the importance of good credit health. In our surveys, we have found 97 percent of people unaware about the importance of good credit health whereas 86 percent have not even heard of credit bureau," he informed.
 
Wadhawani claimed the company served 60,000 active members availing of its paid services spread across 270 Indian cities. Headquartered at Mumbai, it also has offices in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Business Standard

Friday, 25 July 2014

50 IAF Officers Fall Victim To Credit Card Fraud

50 IAF officers fall victim to credit card fraud
 
More than 50 officials, including senior officials, of the Indian Air Force have become the latest victims of credit card fraud.
 
The Air Force has registered an FIR with the Cyber Cell of Delhi Police in connection with over 50 cases of fraudulent withdrawal of money from State Bank of India (SBI) accounts of its air force officers posted across India. Investigators are probing the role of some insiders and are planning to grill SBI officials and also IAF personnel.
 
A senior police officer said the IAF had shifted bulk of its officers' bank accounts to the SBI in 2009-10 and most of the affected customers are from Defence Salary Package, a large number of them from the Air Force. The case was registered on Wednesday evening following the complaint of the Commanding Officer of IAF's Provost and Security Unit, Wing Commander Tejveer Singh. "We came to know that our Air Force officials had lodged complaints with the local police," said Singh.
 
IAF officials said the step was taken after it emerged that more than 40 such cases had taken place after the accounts of IAF officers were opened with the bank. "The police have found that transactions have been made on two websites of online shopping - Target Canada and American Apparel Montreal Canada. The transactions have taken place from June 22 but have gone up in the second week of July. The transaction amount varies from Rs.11,000 to Rs.3,75, 000," a police source said.
 
Preliminary investigation has also revealed that the victims are mostly gold card users and they are Flying Officer, Flight Lieutenant and Squadron Lead. CWG organising committee chief Suresh Kalmadi. By Mail Today Bureau in New Delhi FIVE years after charges of alleged financial irregularities had hit the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday gave a clean chit to CWG Joint DG T.S. Darbari for the second time. However, it slapped charges of `4.64 crore forex violations in the Queen's Baton Relay (QBR) event against former CWG organising committee chief Suresh Kalmadi and six others, including Lalit Bhanot.
 
The ED said it had found no evidence against Darbari as no approvals were sought from him, as alleged earlier by the Organising Committee (OC), before taking decisions related to the QBR." The agency issued show cause notices under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to Kalmadi, the then Chairman of the CWG Organising Committee(OC), the then secretary general Lalit Bhanot, the then treasurer A.K. Matoo, director general V.K. Verma, joint DG M. Jeychandran, Deputy DG Sanjay Mahindroo and the officials of the OC. They have been given 30 days' time to reply to ED's notice after which adjudication proceedings under FEMA would begin. Interestingly, most of the accused persons now chargesheeted by the ED constitute key prosecution witness in the CBI chargesheet, say OC sources.
 
A senior ED official, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Darbari got a clean chit and said: "We could not substantiate the charges leveled against T.S. Darbari in the FEMA violation case involving payments worth `1.25 crore made to AM Car & Van Hire Ltd, UK for the event. His role is missing in the case and not made a party in the case... however, we have issued show cause notices to others allegedly involved in some more cases which are under investigation." According to sources, Darbari had not been involved in the scam and was made a party to it by Kalmadi's close aides. No evidence was found against him in the last five years of probe, but Darbari was terminated from service by Kalmadi, who was then the chairman of the Games Organising Committee in August 2010.
 
ED has filed FEMA contravention charges on primarily three counts -- illegal dealing of foreign exchange, illegal acquisition of forex in violation of RBI norms and false declarations filed by all the accused during the documentation of the financial transactions pertaining to this event. ED slaps forex charges against Suresh Kalmadi Clean chit given to CWG Joint DG T.S. Darbari IAF officers fall victim to credit card fraud

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: India Today

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Financial Services More Prone To Cybercrime: KPMG

Cybercrime has emerged as a major threat with 58 percent of a KPMG survey respondents perceiving financial services sector as more likely to be prone to cybercrime. About 51 percent perceive themselves to be an easy target for cyber-attacks due to the nature of their business and about 68 percent of the respondents indicated that they assigned less than 20 percent of their IT security budget for preventing cybercrime.
 
Over the past few years, the global cybercrime landscape has changed dramatically, with criminals employing more sophisticated technology and greater knowledge of cyber security says 'Cybercrime Survey 2014' released Monday.
 
According to a statement cybercrime continues to remain a tough challenge for organisations. "With rise in the cybercrime, businesses are increasingly facing impacts not only on the financial front but also irreversible damage to their brands and market reputations. As a result of this growing threat, there is a significant need for corporates to recognize cyber threats and craft cyber response plans. KPMG has released the cybercrime survey report, with a view of providing insights to senior level management/board of Directors and guidance to policy makers on various aspects of managing cybercrime," said Mritunjay Kapur, Partner and Head of Risk Consulting practice, KPMG in India.
 
The Cybercrime Survey 2014 had over 170 participants from the likes of CIOs, CISOs and related professionals from across India. Cybercrime has emerged as a major threat as acknowledged by an overwhelming 89 percent of the survey respondents.
 
Distinctly, about 51 percent perceive themselves to be an easy target for cyber-attacks due to the nature of their business. Out of these 51 percent, about 68 percent respondents claim that they monitor their cybercrime threats on a daily basis. Although 37 percent of the respondents feel risk of cyber-attacks comes from an external source, it is imperative that organisations keep a track of insiders with malicious intent or professional intruders constantly seeking access to sensitive information.
 
The survey also highlights key sectors prone to cyber-attacks. A staggering 58 percent of the survey respondents perceive financial services sector as more likely to be prone to cybercrime. Whereas 11 percent feel communications, entertainment and infrastructure sectors are prone too. In financial sector the value to the attacker would be internet banking and brokerage. Phishing attacks of online banking accounts or cloning of ATM / Debit cards are common occurrences. The increasing use of mobiles for online banking & financial transactions has also increased the vulnerabilities to a great extent.
 
According to the survey, the root cause of most cyber-attacks is monetary gain and attacks have gradually evolved into cybercrime syndicates siphoning off money through illegal cyber channels. Cyber-attackers can be classified based on various aspects such as their qualifications, skill levels, age group and motivations.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Economic Times

Card Fraud Eating Away At Consumer Confidence

Credit and debit card fraud is starting to erode confidence in providers, with many consumers using cards less often or abandoning them altogether after fraud incidents, a global survey of 6,100 consumers by ACI Worldwide has reported.
 
Curiously, the firm's latest annual survey confirms that total card fraud rates (credit, debit and pre-paid) are now stable or falling in many countries, with 41 percent of US holders reporting that they had experienced it in the previous five years, a slight drop. In the UK, the fall has been even more marked, dropping from 34 percent in 2012 to 28 percent in 2014.
 
Global hotspots remain developing countries such as the UAE, China and India, recording fraud rates of 44 percent, 42 percent and 41 percent respectively.
 
Before anyone gets the idea that the UK is doing well, even these much improved rates compare pretty poorly to other Western European countries such as Germany on 16 percent and Sweden on 10 percent. Even traditional digital crime zone Russia is lower at 23 percent.
 
What does seem to be changing is how consumers view these fraud levels, and how this affects the way they use their cards.
 
In the US, cards replaced because of fraud - or worse still because of a data breach - are likely to be used less often than they were before an incident. Around in one in four say they used fraud-hit cards less often than before, presumably because of the fear of a repeat incident.
 
There is even a technical term for this behaviour - the 'back of wallet' relegation.
 
Although consumers in countries such as the US seem unlikely to lose confidence completely (US consumers are largely protected against fraud losses), around 12 percent believe that providers should be doing more.
 
In the UK, 14 percent of card users reported changing cards after experiencing fraud, with 36 percent using them less.
 
It's difficult to make too many generalisations on global attitudes to fraud incidents because culture, financial regulation and the level of fraud vary so widely. The study does suggest that consumers are growing more tired of fraud as an ingrained phenomenon, a trend exacerbated by the rise of online data breaches.
 
"Consumers are increasingly concerned about fraud, and are losing confidence on a variety of levels," said ACI Worldwide senior vice president, Mike Braatz. "They are unsure that their financial institutions can protect them against fraud; they use replacement cards less often due to a loss of confidence in the card or card issuer, after experiencing fraud; and post-fraud, they often change providers or their cards go to back of wallet.
 
ACI Worldwide's message is mainly for the card providers themselves; don't take consumers for granted. It is also a sign that after years of apparent indifference to fraud levels, growing consumer dissatisfaction could be a new pressure for the industry to invest in security.
 
In the US, card fraud levels should continue to drop as EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) authentication technology is rolled out to meet standards achieved by most of the rest of the world many years ago.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Computer World

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Borrowers With Higher Credit Score Have More Chance For Loan

COIMBATORE: Borrowers with a credit score of 700 and above have a higher chance of getting their loan and credit card applications approved by banks, according to a study by Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd (CIBIL).
 
This, the study said, indicated that Cribil TransUnion score has become an integral risk assessment tool for banks and financial institutions for sanctioning any new credit, Harshala Chandorkar, Senior Vice President, Consumer Relations and Communication, CIBIL, told reporters here today.
 
Credit grantors increasingly relied on CIBIL's services to make objective, faster and prudent lending decisions, she said, adding that many industry leaders also attrributed the decline in defaults and improvement in asset quality to the information support received from CIBIL.
 
To prove her point, Harshala said that usage of credit information has tamed the NPA rate, which was around 1.9 per cent in 2010 to under 1.3 per cent in 2013 and there was almost 30 per cent reduction in NPA rates over the last four years.
 
About 80 per cent of credit active population has a CIBIL TransUnion score greater that 750, which indicate that banks are increasingly lending to borrowers with higher CIBIL, she said.
 
There was more than 200 per cent increase in credit applications over the last three years, Harshala said and added, without revealing the numbers, that highest growth was witnessed in personal loans and two-wheelers segments followed by home loans over the last five years.
 
States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu contributed to almost 50 per cent of all enquiries for credit, Harshala said.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Economic Times

Monday, 21 July 2014

Cybercrimes Alone Cost India Rs 24,630 Crore In 2013

Cybercrime cost India about Rs 24,630 crores ($4 billion) in 2013, according to a report commissioned by the Delhi high court and submitted by Surinder S. Rathi, additional district judge and OSD to Delhi Legal Service Authority (DLSA).
 
The report, however, gave no further details about how it had computed the cost of cybercrime.
 
The report was commissioned in pursuance of a direction by the high court that a comprehensive study must be conducted on various issues, including the cost incurred in running the criminal justice system.
 
The bench of Justices Gita Mittal and J.R. Midha, which is yet to pronounce the quantum of sentence to three convicts, including Vikas Yadav, in the 2002 Nitish Katara murder case, had also asked the DLSA to compute the cost incurred in the trial of this case, besides determining the compensation paying capacity of the convicts.
 
In India, no empirical study has been conducted as to how much does a criminal case cost the exchequer and the taxpayers right from registration of the FIR to its logical conclusion post the trial in sentencing, the report said.
 
It said that despite India having 12,700-odd police stations and 15.70 lakh policemen manning them, incidents of crime have been spiralling uncontrollably.
 
“A lot is being done in this regard by all the stakeholders, but unfortunately owing to lack of scientific methodology and concerted efforts of all concern not much headway could be achieved,” the report said. It also said that the police, the first ring of criminal justice system, was in an almost pitiable state nationwide.
 
“Neither it (police) has the requisite manpower to deliver nor the technical expertise nor the infrastructure to contain crimes. To make things worse malice of corruption is eating into its vitals,” the report said.
 
It said the judiciary, the second ring of criminal justice system, was also not “far behind in fulfilling its constitutional obligations and meeting the expectations of its citizen of delivery of timely justice.”
 
“Courts are inundated with lakhs of cases pending trial. Such is the snail pace of trials that influx of cases at any point of time is outdoing the disposal. All this is resulting in piling up of cases in courts,” the report said.
 
The report also added that the ancillary support system, like jails, juvenile, justice boards, child welfare committees and forensic labs, all need to be brought out of slumber and urgently to save this system from crumbling.
 
On the cost of criminal justice system, the report said that measuring the cost of criminal justice is not easy, yet it is essential to the proper appraisal of any criminal justice system policy. “There is a urgent need to develop a comprehensive methodology for calculating the cost incurred by society on account of various criminal offences,” it said.
 
In its chapter on “Cost of Criminal Justice System,” the report, quoting the National Crime Records Bureau data, said that in 2013, as many as 66.40 lakh criminal complaints were received by the police stations across the nation. It said that in Delhi alone, a total of 86,800 criminal complaints were received at its 175-odd police stations apart from about 89 lakh distress calls received by it in 2013.
 
“Although better part of the world has awaken to the exorbitant financial cost of running the criminal justice system, but our country is yet to take its first step in the right direction. Owing to mindless and unscientific planning all the wings of criminal justice system are highly chaotic in their functioning and are immensely overburdened,” the report said.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Asia Age

Side Effects Of Multiple Credit Cards

Credit card companies come up with tempting card offers for investors, albeit now more cautiously after the financial markets turmoil, by offering freebies such as life-time free credit, among other things.
 
Customers already possessing credit cards often find themselves taking up such offers and ending up with multiple credit cards. The moot question here is, should you be content with having one credit card or does it make sense to have multiple credit cards and if so, how many are enough?
 
Let’s understand what the benefits and pitfalls of having multiple credit cards could be.
 
Why would one need more than one credit card?
 
Credit Limit: If you feel that your credit limit on the single card doesn’t suffice, then you may need more than one card. Nevertheless, remember, if you have a good payment history, credit card companies reward you by enhancing your credit limit, which may eliminate the need to go in for one extra card.
 
So make sure you make your credit card payments on time- the benefits are manifold. You credit score will not get adversely impacted, you will not have to pay high interest on your card and credit card companies may enhance your credit limit.
 
Convenience: At times, merchants do not accept all cards, for example, some may accept only Visa or MasterCard. So if you have only one card, you may face inconvenience. Also, sometimes your card may get rejected for technical and other reasons. So a back up is required.
 
Fraud Protection: If you use your credit card for online transactions, for fraud protection, you may find it useful to use only one card for such purpose and restrict the credit limit on it, so that even if your card details are hacked, the extent of damage is limited.
 
Benefit-oriented cards: There are some cards which provide maximum privileges or a good deal if used for a particular purpose such as petrol purchases or air miles. You may want to take advantage of the same and therefore have a card for that purpose only.
 
What are the drawbacks of having multiple cards?
 
Credit history: Maintaining a clean credit history is becoming increasingly important with credit bureaus, like Cibil tracking your payment. The probability of missing a payment date is higher if you possess several credit cards as you will have to keep track of the payment date of each of the credit cards. If you renege on your payments, your credit history will be get affected, which will adversely impact your credit score and your ability to get loans in the future. Multiple credit cards require you be to very responsible.
 
Purchasing Power: Credit cards give you the purchasing power as you do not need money in your account to make a purchase. If you are impulsive, then having multiple cards can prove to be a recipe for disaster as you may spend without thinking of your repayment capability. That will result in postponement of payments and over a period of time, accumulate into a large debt.
 
Effort: Managing multiple credit cards is an effort because it requires a proper schedule, which you need to figure out and keep a tab on. You need to keep track of the payment dates, the interest free period and the credit limit.
 
There is no clear cut method that determines how many cards are enough. One may not suffice, because you need a back up just in case your credit card is not getting accepted for whatever reason and also for various other reasons as stated above. But at the same time, having too many cards requires you to act responsibly so that you do not tarnish your credit history and find yourself in a financial mess. So the next time you receive a call for a credit card, ask yourself whether it adds any value for you and whether you will be able to manage it responsibly!

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Financial Express

Friday, 18 July 2014

Credit Score Says How Likely You Are To Repay A Loan

An individual’s credit score provides a lender with an indication of the “probability of default” of the individual based on their credit history.
 
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a 3-digit numeric summary of your credit history. The score is derived by using the details found in the “Accounts” and “Enquiries” sections on your Credit Information Report (CIR) and ranges from 300 to 900 points.  The closer your score is to 900, the more favourably your loan application will be viewed by a lender. The score plays a critical role in the loan approval process.
 
What does my credit score mean?
An individual’s credit score provides a lender with an indication of the “probability of default” of the individual based on their credit history. What this means in simple English is that the score tells a lender how likely you are to pay back a loan (should the lender choose to sanction your loan) based on your past pattern of credit usage and loan repayment behaviour. The closer you are to 900, the more confidence the lender will have in your ability to repay the loan and hence, the better the chances of your application getting approved.
 
How is the credit score used?
A credit score is used by loan providers to screen loan applications. For example, Bank A may decide that it will decide to only lend to applicants with a credit score for 700 and above.  On the other hand Bank B may decide that it will only lend to applicants with a credit score of 600 and above.  Each lender decides what an adequate score is as per its credit policy. The credit bureau does not recommend what credit score a lender should use as a cut off.
 
However, it is important to note that the credit score is only one of the pieces of information used by a loan provider.  Your income details and overall debt exposure are also considered before a lender takes a decision on your loan application.
 
How do I find out what my credit score is?
You can find out what your credit score is by purchasing from the credit bureau.  The credit score is provided to you along with a CIR so that you have the basis upon which your credit score is calculated. If you feel that there is an inaccuracy on your CIR you should get that corrected because inaccuracies in your “Accounts” or “Enquiries” sections may affect your credit score.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: DNA

Delhi Cops Teach How To Fight Cyber Crime

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police has donned the mantle of teacher without a cane. In its bid to reach out to people with information about threats of the virtual world, the department's cyber cell will teach students at graduate and postgraduate levels a two-week course on cyber crime, security and forensics, inspired by the success of its first batch of 12 from Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice, Jodhpur. This batch was inducted on June 16. 
 
"Students from all over India can apply and our officers will shortlist batches as per our infrastructure and constraints. Those pursuing courses in computer applications, forensics and cyber security are eligible," Satish Golcha, joint commissioner of police, Economic Offences Wing, said. 
 
The current batch was explained what crimes like hacking, data theft, crimes of persuasion, credit card, e-banking frauds, extortion, stalking and fake profiling are and how police dealt with them. In the course of the training, senior investigating officers will share their experiences while handling a case. 
 
"We will hold a special session to acquaint students with Trojans, virus, malwares, spywares, Keylogger software and steganography," DCP (EOW) S D Mishra said. "Students learned how to make disk-to-disk images of hard disks, optical drives and pen drives as well as copy information on various mobile phones using Logicube Forensic Dossier, Logicube Talon and FREDDIE. Details about extraction of deleted data and analysis of the imaged data were also taught," DCP (EOW) Mangesh Kashyap said. 
 
Students will now be given extensive training on various aspects of cyber forensic analysis using software tools available in the lab such as Access Data Toolkit, Encase and NUIX. They even had a practical session on tracking website hackers. The batch was taken on a field trip to National Informatics Centre from where all government websites are hosted. 
 
"They were told about the features of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems, Delhi Police Dossier System, Delhi Police ZIPNET, Delhi Police PCR control room and Delhi Police fingerprint system through interactive sessions at the CCTNS Training Centre," Golcha said. 

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Times of India

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Your Deleted Smartphone Data Can Be Recovered!

Selling your used smartphone? Deleting files may not be enough!  Researchers from Prague-based security software company AVAST said they were easily able to retrieve personal data from used smartphones sold online, despite consumers deleting their data.
 
From the used devices, AVAST was able to recover more than 40,000 personal photos, emails, text messages, and – in some cases – the identities of the sellers. ”We purchased a variety of Android devices from sellers across the US and used readily available recovery software to dig up personal information that was previously on the phones,” said Jude McColgan, President of Mobile at AVAST. ”The take-away is that even deleted data on your used phone can be recovered unless you completely overwrite it,” he said.
 
AVAST analysed 20 used smartphones whose previous owners had performed a factory reset or a ‘delete all’ operation on their devices. The researchers were able to recover more than 40,000 stored photos, more than 1,500 family photos of children, more than 1,000 Google searches, over 750 emails and text messages, more than 250 contact names and email addresses, four previous owners’ identities and one completed loan application. ”More than 80,000 used smartphones are for sale daily on eBay in the US. Along with their phones, consumers may not realize they are selling their memories and their identities,” McColgan said.
 
“Images, emails, and other documents deleted from phones can be exploited for identity theft, blackmail, or for even stalking purposes. Selling your used phone is a good way to make a little extra money, but it’s potentially a bad way to protect your privacy,” added McColgan.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: BGR

Monday, 14 July 2014

After Credit Info, Cibil Eyes Insurance Sector

India's largest credit information company, Credit Information Bureau (India), abbreviated as CIBIL, is planning to extend its services to the insurance sector. With members ranging from all leading banks and financial institutions to NBFCs and housing finance companies, Cibil is likely to provide credit information to both life and general insurance companies.
 
The data will help insurers to arrive at a fair pricing—those obtaining high credit scores could bargain for attractive premiums.
 
Speaking on the sidelines of Cibil's third annual credit information conference here on Wednesday, chairman MV Nair said, “We are looking at the insurance industry and have started initial discussions with the insurance regulator, Irda.”
 
He said as Irda was in the process of floating a separate credit information bureau on the lines of Cibil for the insurance industry, the company decided to approach them. “We are talking to the insurance regulator to offer our expertise as well as platform,” said Nair.
 
The whole process of providing credit information to insurers will also be same as in the case of banks: those with a good track record will get benefits and chances are that premiums can be attractive, too. The modalities are yet to be worked out, Nair said.
 
Currently, Cibil caters to financial institutions, including banks, credit card companies, NBFCs, co-operative banks and lenders. Cibil has 840 members and the number of consumer records processed increased to 200 million from 13 million in 2004, he said.
 
Pointing out that the credit information system has brought in huge dymamics into the system, providing a win-win situation for both lenders and borrowers, Nair said the delinquency ratio in credit cards, one of the important retail products, was at 7% for 90 days plus outstanding but after Cibil's offerings since 2008, it has reduced to 1.5%.
 
“This is a clear indication that banks have started using the information on the track record of borrowers. They started choosing the borrowers carefully and this has led the drop in the delinquency rates,” Nair said, adding “huge awareness among the borrowers was another big advantage”.
 
Emphasising the need to have a good credit track record, he said: “Unless the customer has a good score, he may not get a credit card or any other loan; so borrowers will try to keep their payment track record good.”
 
In the housing loan sector, those with a score of 700 numbered around 23% in 2010. Today, the figure has risen to 63% meaning that the banking sector had started choosing borrowers with better scores. The natural sequence will be those who have better scores will bargain for a better price.
 
Cibil had recently tied up with the Central Registry of Securitisation Asset Reconstruction and Security Interest of India (CERSAI) to offer greater value and comprehensive access to credit and mortgage information to credit institutions and consumers. This partnership will enable both organisations adopt a more co-ordinated approach to their respective functions and collaborate with each other to offer seamless solutions to credit institutions.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

Courtesy: Financial Express

Stealing You

Protect yourself from identity theft, where the new age criminal steals your identity, your money, your credit and your life as you own it
 
A marketing executive was recently pick-pocketed. His wallet contained his debit and credit cards, it took him a few minutes to realise what had happened and approximately 30 minutes to block each card. But by then it was already too late, for he had lost Rs 78,000 on his credit card and another Rs 35,000 from his debit. Not too long ago, a software engineer in Bengalooru was arrested, he had been making online transactions using various peoples credit card details, purchasing products from one place and auctioning them off online to various pother locations. A college-going boy travelling in the Delhi subway was using his mobile to pay off his phone bills, which got credited to his visa card. Unknown to him, one of the guys standing behind him, had seen him enter his credit card number. Before the boy reached home, his card had been maxed out, with over Rs 1,20,000 worth of goods being bought. All the above instances share one common thread; they were all cases of identity theft. This is the fraud of the new millennium and can be committed by anyone, anywhere and at anytime. Understanding and protecting yourself from falling prey to such disaster which you or may not be able to withstand, is prudent and a must in this new era.
 
Have you ever been sent emails, claiming you have won lotteries you never played, received large donations in wills from people you have never heard of, or been required to revalidate online banking facilities you never used? Well so have I. They seem genuine, the email address the mail comes from, the url provided by them and the steps they ask you to follow. However, these are not real and should be ignored and deleted as soon as possible. This method used by cyber crooks to gather ones personal information, which is used to transfer funds, apply for credit cards and loans all in your name, is commonly known as identity theft. This method used to get personal information from victims is known as phising.
 
While the Indian cyber crime unit have been hesitant to reveal the number of cases reported, that wouldn't really give a true picture of the scenario. Since, most of these cases are never even registered. Firewalls, anti-spyware softwares, secure and password protected pages and documents may all offer you protection. However, once your 12 digit card number, 15 digit account number and basic information has been typed out in cyberspace, there is no turning back. We are all sitting ducks in the hands of sophisticated criminals who want to make "quick-money".
 
What is identity theft?
 
Identity theft is a term used to refer to fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else. The term is relatively new and is actually a misnomer, since it is not inherently possible to steal an identity, only to use it. The person whose identity is used can suffer various consequences when they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. At one time the only way for someone to steal somebody elses identity was by killing that person and taking his place. It was typically a violent crime. However, since then, the crime has evolved and today's white collared criminals are a lot less brutal. But the ramifications of an indentity theft are still scary.
 
As per the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center, identity thefts can be sub-divided into four categories. These are financial identity theft, criminal identity theft, identity cloning, and business/commercial identity theft.
 
In many cases the victim is not even aware of what is being done till it is already too late. Identity theft may be used to facilitate crimes, including illegal immigration , terrorism , and espionage . It may also be used as a means of blackmail. There have also been cases of identity cloning to attack payment systems, including online credit card processing and medical insurance. Sometimes people may impersonate others for non-financial reasons too. This is often done to receive praise or attention for the victim's achievements. This is sometimes referred to as identity theft in the media, and is a common trend seen by look-a-likes.
 
One does not have to think too far back before re-collecting a probable victim of identity theft in India. An American
national named Ken Haywood, whose most likely fault is, that his wi-fi internet conection was hacked, was only recently under the scanner for involvement in the Ahemdabad terrorist attacks. The sad part remains, while speculators and the cyber crime unit suspect foul play and hacking, not once has the term identity theft or identity protection been suggested. And, this just goes to show our current level of awareness towards a threat so obvious.
 
The current situation
 
The biggest case of identity theft ever seen, took place in August of this year. Eleven people, including a US secret service informant, had been charged in connection with the hacking of nine major retailers and the theft and sale of more than 41 million credit and debit card numbers! This data breach is believed to be the largest hacking and identity theft case ever prosecuted by the US Department of Justice, which announced that the suspects were charged with conspiracy, computer intrusion, fraud and identity theft. Three of those charged are US citizens, while the others are from places such as Estonia, Ukraine, Belarus and China.
 
The areas of data protection and securitsation are still very weak. How else could 11 people whose nations barely get along, pull of a heist involving a whooping 41 million credit card and debit card numbers. Yes, one can argue that this happened half-way across the globe and India is so much safer. But is it really? Forget the Ken Haywood incident, one might pass it off as an extreme case still in the grey area. But, last year when there was a duplicate Axis bank web page created, which was "phising" for unsuspecting baits on the internet, the victims and crime was a lot closer home. Or, a while before that when Kingfisher Airlines was duped of Rs 17 crore caused by an online ticket booking fraud, caused by credit card bookings. These credit card details were obtained by the thieves from various places like shopping mall, restraunt and petrol-pump emplyees who swipe these cards, felt the officers working on this case.
 
"Data loss is a burning issue that should be on the mind of every C-level executive and board member—if it isn't already. Every day we read about companies suffering millions of dollars in losses due to security breaches. Those losses directly hurt the innocent stakeholders of those companies, including hardworking employees and shareholders. Opportunity for data loss is everywhere, and intentional or otherwise, data that ends up in the wrong place can do tremendous harm. It might be at the hands of a single disgruntled employee with a flash drive, or a forgetful member of your finance department leaving a CD-ROM on the subway. But however it happens, data loss can be devastating, and it's only a matter of time before a high-profile company, perhaps a squeaky clean one bursting with integrity and good will, is brought to its knees by a breach" feels Dave DeWalt, McAfee, president and CEO, in McAfees and Datamonitor's latest research report.
 
In India there are currently no laws in place to protect and safeguard oneself against identity theft. Nor, do organisations that are in possession of sensitive data, have procedures for data protection, flow and securitisation they have to adhere to. The IT Act 2000 currently has no specific provision to deal with identity theft. However, the Expert Committee on Amendments to the IT Act 2000 (whose report is still being considered by the government) had recommended amending the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by inserting in it, two new sections. Section 417A that prescribes punishment of up to 3 years imprisonment and a fine for cheating, by using any unique identification feature of any other person. And, section 419A, which prescribes punishment of up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine for cheating by impersonation, using a network or computer resource. Sections 417A and 419A comprehensively cover identity theft and their incorporation into the IPC would place India amongst the few nations to have specific provisions to counter the bane of identity theft.
 
In many cases, victims discover the identity fraud has hit them only after their credit card or bank statements reach them. The time gap between the crimes and their discovery sometimes get too large to trace out the perpetrator. Thus, to proactively counter identity theft, consumers should be kept informed about any significant changes in their credit accounts as soon as possible. Credit bureaus like the Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd should inform consumers in case of any significant change in their credit account status.
Guarding tools
 
The Unisys Security Index is a social indicator that measures consumer concern in relation to four areas of security: national, financial, internet and personal safety. "Fears about identity theft and financial fraud are top global concerns for consumers" as per the latest results of the Unisys Security Index . Identity theft is the primary security concern cited among respondents in nine out of 14 countries, while misuse of credit or debit card information ranks as the first or second greatest fear in 12 out of the 14 countries. Compared to 2007 global findings, the current Unisys Security Index again shows that consumer concern is highest in Asia.
 
Today there are a lot of anti-spyware, anti-virus, and even anti-phising software's available, which can help protect you to an extent against identity theft. These software's, while they do not guarantee your safety, they do offer protection against third party fraudsters online. In some countries there are also identity theft protection software's and companies, which, not only guard your computer from external attacks, but also regularly do your credit analysis to check for irregularities. While, such software is yet to launch of in India, it will not be too long before we too take steps in that direction.
 
Another tool that is available in many countries, which face identity theft problems is identity theft insurance. An identity theft insurance policy covers you for the expenses you might incur if your identity is stolen. These might include anything from legal fees to defend any charges associated with identity theft, telephone calls, postage, rejected loan application fees and lost wages if you have to take time off work to reclaim your identity. A monthly or annual fee is usually attached to your identity theft protection policy. These policies also include assessing your credit report and will notify you if any changes are made to your credit rating.
 
Identity management is something financial institutes and banks are looking to imbibe into their system, hoping to prevent identity theft and data loss. Electronic identity management is defined as the management of user credentials and the means by which users might log on to an online system. It entails creating a work and data flow system, with password protection and restrictive accessibility of data, and end-to-end lifecycles of user identities across all areas of the company.
 
At the end of the day, while things have gotten a lot more hi-tech and savvy these days, making us prone to attacks from various places, the key to survival still remains the same as it was in the Wild West. It is the survival of the fittest, smartest and best protected, hence unless ignorance is the bliss you wish to dwell in, the next time your dealing with personal information that is important to you, take a moment to consider what exactly it is you are doing. For, whether we like it or not, a new age brings a new criminal, one that we may know or even like. So, be safe, protect your personal information and beware of the evil twins waiting to spring an attack on you.
 
Tips for identity theft protection
 
The following tips can help you lower your risk of falling victim to identity theft
 
* Beware of phising
Scam artists “phish” for victims by pretending to be banks, stores or government agencies. They do this over the phone, in e-mails and in the regular mail. Banks/ Financial Institutions will never ask you to update your account information online. Banks employ secure back-ups for all their servers holding important customer information, so, there is no question of any banks server failing and causing a loss of data, which you need to update online.
 
* Learn to shred
Shred bank and credit card statements, canceled checks and bills with account information and papers with personal information before you throw them away. Shred credit card offers that you don’t use. Do not be enticed by offers of rewards and lotteries that you get in an e-mail.
 
* Shield your computer
Use firewall, virus and spyware protection software that you update regularly. Download free software only from sites you know and trust. Set your browser security to at least “medium.”. To check your PC’s vulnerability to various online threats and to make it more secure .
 
* Click with caution
When shopping online, check out the web site before entering your credit card number or other personal information. Only enter personal information on secure Web pages with “https” in the address bar and a padlock symbol at the bottom of the browser window. These are signs that your information will be encrypted or scrambled, protecting it from hackers Read the privacy policy. Reserve a low-limit credit card specifically for online purchases, and only buy from reputed, secured websites.
 
* Check your statements
Open your credit card bills and bank statements right away. Check carefully for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately. Call if bills don’t arrive on time. It may mean that someone has changed contact information to hide fraudulent charges. Cancel all credit cards that you do not use or have not used in the past six months.
 
* Browse intelligently
Use a secure browser like Internet Explorer version 7 or Mozilla Firefox version 2.0.0.1. These browsers come embedded with technology that helps fight phishing frauds, and will warn you in most cases. You can also install the Netcraft anti-phishing toolbar as an add-on to your regular browser.
 
* Question ?
Ask questions whenever you are asked for personal information that seems inappropriate for the transaction. Ask how the information will be used and if it will be shared. Ask how it will be protected.
 
* Passwords too need protection
Be careful at ATMs and while using Phone Cards. "Shoulder surfers" mat try to get your account and PIN numbers. Commit them to memory, do not write them down. If you store them, you must encrypt the files. Put passwords on all your accounts.

Credit Sudhaar is India's first Credit Health management & improvement company whose goal is to help clients to Restore, Enhance and Protect their Credit and make them credit healthy.

CS IdentityShield helps you to Monitor, Protect and Recover your Identity from multiple risks.

Courtesy: Financial Express