Data Breaches Seem Like the Never-ending Story

We all hate data breaches. From consumers to merchants to processors, data breaches are bad news for everyone, and they can do damage that we cannot even fathom. While someone could steal your money, they could also steal your identity, and take on their own persona of you with this stolen information. While it may seem like data breaches are here to stay, upcoming changes to the card industry may help curb these hackings, and keep everyone more secure.

One of the biggest issues is the overall effect data breaches are having on the processing industry. Most of these hackings are happening to big-name companies, from Target to Panda Express, and Ashley Madison. These breaches make the processing industry unsteady, because such big-name companies should have the best processors. They probably do, however hackers are so advanced that they can get through any security in place. This leaves everyone vulnerable, because there is not much that the industry can do. It’s leaving some without processing accounts, but thankfully there are options for those businesses.

While the “high risk” industry once got a bad rep, it is more common these days. Hackings and fraudulent charges are becoming more and more common, even amongst businesses that are not typically considered to be “high risk”. High risk merchant accounts are something that every business owner should look into, as these account processors typically have the knowledge and experience to deal with the fallout from a data breach.

Another good thing for the industry – and consumers – comes from the chip and PIN cards that are supposedly coming in 2016. These cards will replace our old signature credit cards, and they are, so far, virtually un-hackable. They have been used successfully in Europe for years, and while processors, merchants, and consumers are clamoring for these cards, the government is holding up their release. We hope that they will be released next year, but if not, merchants should check into a high risk merchant account from eMerchantBroker.com, regardless of their industry. These accounts are not much different from a traditional account, and you should consider making the switch.

Bio:
Blair Thomas is the co-founder of eMerchantBroker.com the #1 high risk Credit Card processing company and he could help get you an SEO merchant accountat great low rates! He has been in the electronic payments industry for over 10+ years.  When he isn’t running his business he spends his time writing and producing music, which has been featured in a variety of films. 

Identity Theft: 5 Steps to Prevent It

Your credit score is a highly sensitive and valuable aspect of your credit history with infinite implications about your financial future. Your credit report begins at the age of 18 and details all of your credit inquiries and credit accounts. Building a viable credit score takes years and continuous on time payments, and your score can be destroyed in minutes if your identity is stolen, just ask anyone who has their masters in computer science online.

Identity theft is characterized by the National Crime Victimization Survey as:

  • unauthorized attempted use or use of your credit cards (64.1%)
  • unauthorized attempted use or use of other financial accounts (35%)
  • unauthorized use of personal information to open new loans, accounts, or in the committing of other crimes. (14.2%)

Identity theft is a major concern that has affected 7% of households in the United States with each incident averaging in $4,930 in financial loss according to statisticbrain.com While the financial loss is substantial, it is dwarfed by the damage done to your credit report and several other implications of identity theft. With the gargantuan impact of identity theft, you should do everything possible to protect your identity and your financial future.

5 Steps to Prevent Identity Theft

1. Keep Personal Identification Information Personal

Without a shadow of a doubt, you should never give your personal information to anyone. If a company or someone posing as a company ever contacts you, you should never provide your personal information over the phone or through email. If you have a relationship with this company, they should already have your personal information. In addition, with the outbreak of identity theft, no reputable company will ever ask you to provide your personal information over the phone or by email.

2. Keep Virus Protection Software Up to Date

Your virus protection software is your second line of defense against identity theft; common sense if you’re first. Identity thieves will commonly use malware programs that are designed to capture your keystrokes and transmit the information back to them. By doing so, the virus program can capture your banking log-in information and everything else that you access on your computer. By keeping your virus protection software up to date, you will ensure that the virus protection software will be effective.

3. Monitor Your Credit Report and Financial Accounts

One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to keep a sharp eye on your credit report and financial statements. This will effectively catch any type of suspicious activity and stop it before it becomes even more of a problem. 

4. Never Throw Away Documents Containing Personal Identification Information

Not all identity theft happens on the web. One way identity thieves get individual’s information is by “dumpster diving,” which entails looking through people’s trash to find sensitive information. To prevent this from happening, you should never put your financial statements or anything that has your personal information in the trash can. The better alternative is to shred the information.

5. Be Digitally Secure

When you choose your passwords or PINs, you should always choose numbers and words that people wouldn’t generally associate with you. You should never use the last four digits of your social security number or any other parts of your personal identification information. The following tips are designed to help you stay as digitally secure as possible.

  • Never use the same passwords for all of your accounts.
  • Never use birth dates, phone numbers, or sequenced numbers as your PIN or password.
  • The most secure passwords include a mixture of capital and lowercase letters, be at least 8 characters long, and use special characters, such as !, #, $, etc.
  • Never write your passwords down or store them on your computer.

Bio:

Myself  Stuart Clock I am a professional Guest blogger & author. I am writing for my blog and I’m trying to grow it by reaching out to the quality websites like entrepreneur.

Improve Your Trading Game: 4 Options to Learn About This Year

Whether you are trading binary options or other forms, options are great vehicles for risk management and position trading, but selecting the right strategy is essential for using them most effectively. You have a number of choices of strategies beyond simply buying and selling calls and puts. Let’s take a look at four options strategies to up your trading game.

Covered Call

A covered call or “buy-write” is a strategy where you stay long in an underlying asset, then sell a call against it. This strategy is helpful when you are neutral to bullish on the underlying asset. In this situation, your maximum profit is somewhat limited, while your maximum loss can be large.

When the price of the underlying asset moves against you, some of your loss is offset by the short calls. This strategy is usually used to try to match returns of the overall market with lower volatility.

Bull and Bear Spreads

With this strategy, you buy the call of an underlying asset and write a call on that asset with a higher strike price and the same expiration month. This strategy is good to employ when you believe the market will rally or is more apt to rise than fall. A bear spread is where you buy a put and write a put on the underlying asset. Binary options brokers review similar strategies with their options, which usually involve similar tiered calls or puts.

Calendar Spreads

A calendar spread is where you initiate a position by simultaneously entering both a long and short position on an underlying asset with different months of delivery. When shorting the front month option, you have the time decay working with you more quickly than the time decay in the option further out.

Iron Condor

The iron condor strategy is a fairly safe method of selling options since you cannot lost on both sides of this trade. You select a predicted trading range for your underlying asset, then sell options spreads out-of-the-money around this range.

This strategy can be entered from either the long side or the short side. You are trying to exploit a range-bound underlying asset. The trade will be profitable if the underlying asset trades within the inside strikes before expiration. By employing this strategy, you are hoping for a big move in one direction or the other by the time it expires.

Dos and Don’ts

Be sure that you have a trading plan and exit strategy that is preferably written down. This keeps you disciplined and takes emotion out of your decision making process.

Bio:

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty.

Innovative Ways to Locate Life Insurance Companies

Finding life insurance companies can be overwhelming.  There are so many to choose from and each one offers something different.  There are many ways to find companies, but the process can be difficult and long.  Even then, there is still the process of comparison in an effort to decide which company and which policy to go with.  What is there was a better way?  Life insurance does not exactly lend itself to creativity, but here is more than one way to find the best insurance company to fit your needs.  It may be that you follow the old standby, the standard method of searching online or the yellow pages.  A somewhat more creative approach is to use the “word of mouth” method.  There is something even better though.  What if there were a company that could simply provide you a list to choose from that included various companies and policies that fit your needs?  Understanding each method is the only way to determine which one will work best for you.

The Standard

The standard way to find life insurance companies is to search the yellow pages or the internet.  Simply do a search and take a look.  What do they offer?  How does their ad look?  What does their website offer?  Give them a call.   What is your first impression?  How helpful are they?  What kind of information gathering process do they use?  Were they polite?  How quickly can they get you the information you need? Use the answer to all of these questions, make a short list, and narrow it down from there.  There has to be a better way though, right?

A Little More Creative

Ask around to friends and family and see what they have to say.  Which companies do they use?  Why do they use them?  Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertisement.  The only problem is that what your friends and family need in relation to life insurance may not be the same as what you need in relation to life insurance. You still must go through the process of contacting each company and going through each agent to even get a list of the policies each agency has that will fit your needs.  There should still be a more streamlined, innovative approach. 

Innovative

Med life is the most innovative way to not only find life insurance companies, but to find the specific policies at each company that best fit your needs.  One list, one time comparison, one decision is all that is needed and Med life can make it happen. Using a simple form, pertinent information that relates to your insurance needs is collected and used to pull together a list of the most effective and cost efficient policies to fit your needs. 

Finding life insurance is never easy.  Just wading through all of the possible companies is difficult enough.  That is before you ever get to the process of choosing the exact policy that will work best as far as coverage and cost.  There is no need to spend more time and energy that you have to.  Let Med life handle the hard part, and all you have to do is take your pick.  It may not be as simple as all of that, but it is certainly more simple than it would be otherwise.

Are Crowdfunding Real Estate Deals Safe Investment Options?

A new trend is noticed amongst the people who try to raise capital for all kinds of ventures. This is known as crowdsourcing or crowdfunding. In this, people tend to invest their money for supporting projects of all types ranging movies, book and any other creative endeavor to the internet and software development. This means pooling money for diverse kinds of works.

Now, quite evidently, the entrepreneurs will like to draw this fund raising effort towards real estate private deals. In fact, the entrepreneurs are fortunate because modifications in the federal laws regarding raising capital have opened crowdfunding opportunities for real estate investing to business.

However, now the concern is – whether investing your hard-earned income in crowdfunding real estate deals will be a safe and smart way of putting all the capital? Will this option earn you any money? Well, it is feasible, but the odds are very much against you.

Experience is what matters

Firstly, investing in real estate and especially in development deals involve very high risk factor. The real estate market is never stable, and it can face a downtime situation any time. The market for real estate is very fluctuating. So, there is a high chance of facing considerable financial losses and pain on the part of the owner. Moreover, these types of crowdfunding deals mostly have relation with commercial investments, which are the greatest risky zones.

Here, a very crucial thing that you must always keep in mind is – Good investors and developers having an effective track record can only qualify for quality acquisition or development projects. They are only liable to get finances at a cheap rate from the banks which vigorously compete to have such deals. This will provide investors with immense profit, which is the ultimate goal of any investor.

So, which category of investors or developers will be chasing crowdfunded capital from public in general? These should be the inexperienced investors and developers or the ones who have limited financing choices left with them because of highly risk deals or low quality deals.

Proof lies in the detailing

You might have made the crowdfunded deal with the help of an experienced investor or developer; still there is the chance of striking a bad deal. In certain cases, the developer takes a huge amount of fees from your invested amount, or it might happen that your capital get stuck in some deals for years, if not for a decade or so. There are also scammers in the market who will be thankful to you since you have put your money in their wealthy lifestyle.

The road to private real estate deal is pretty promising. Therefore, in case you are planning to invest on some private real estate agreement, you must take the help of a ‘sponsor’ pitching your deal. He must be able to present you with the following details:

  • A report showing the amount of risky equity he has into the deal.
  • An analysis showing the way the deal can earn income for you and how is the project suitable to a particular area.
  • Detail proof and documentation revealing the past record of the sponsor involved in your deal. You can review his credit reports.

So, be wise and make a deal with professional assistance. It is not an intelligent act to gamble your capital in some real estate deal until you are able to afford any financial losses.

4 Most Common Mistakes To Avoid while Filing Tax Return Online

Making mistake in filing your Tax Return Onlinemay not cost your money but in the long run, it has the potential to delay the receipt of any prospective refund you might be expecting to get.

You may ask what tax return is.

The term tax return refers to the form containing your personal details, and declaration of income you received.

Presented here are 4most common mistakes that show up every tax season. As you consider your tax return for filing by the end of Juneof each year, ensure you have not made any of these mistakes.

Bad Math or Arithmetic Calculations

This is the most common error that occurs yearly on tax return application process. Mistakes in math calculation have the capacity to reduce your tax refund making you to owe more than you thought. Mistakes made while transferring figures from one schedule to another can be corrected immediately.

Therefore, filing your Tax Return Online can help to reduce arithmetic errors drastically. The built-in calculators in the online platform will do the work for you by adding, subtracting and inserting figures on forms as required. On your own part, ensure that the initial figures are correct.

Wrong Bank Account Details

Every qualified citizen of Australia can have a refund directly lodged into different bank accounts. This approach is an incredible option to save your refund cash, yet the more numbers you enter on the tax document, the more likely you will enter them wrongly. So incorrect bank account details such as account numbers and postal address could make you lose your refund money entirely.

Wrong account details may not pose a great threat especially when the refund is divided into many parts. Regardless of the possibility that your refund is going to only one bank account, it will be ideal to ensure you enter your bank details accurately.

Missing Deadline

Majority of taxpayers wait till the last minute rush before they file their tax returns. This scenario is not commendable because the taxpayer may not get everything right at the rush hour. On the otherhand, it is favourable to those whose documents are postmarked before June 30. Missing the deadline could attract late-filing or non-filing penalties.

The documents needed to complete and lodge a tax return with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) are PAYG payment summaries for each job. Also your personal details such as full name date of birth, postal address and tax file number should be handy.

A PAYG payment summary is a document from your employer showing the total amount before tax was withheld and the amount of tax withheld; andit is issued every year by the month of July.

Filing By Yourself or an Unauthorized Person

Anyone who has worked in Australia must complete and enter a tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as prescribed in Australian law. It is generally described as employment income for travelers. According to Australian law, a tax return can be prepared by anyone, but only a registered tax agent can prepare and lodge a tax return on behalf of the individual and it is installed on your PC most of the times.

Many people find tax return filing daunting, but it is not actually all that tasking. While filing, ensure you make no mistakes and do it right.

Get Well Soon — Covering Illness in the UAE

When you’re making a long-term move to a country like the UAE, financial affairs are always a factor. You want to be able to make a suitable living and, in general, for everything to runs smoothly on the financial side. The last thing you want is to be stuck at home fighting illness when you have a mortgage to pay and should be at work earning money, which is why you should consider purchasing mortgage insurance.

Mortgage insurance provides a great safety net if you suddenly become unable to work due to illness or an accident, or become unemployed. Should any of these strike you down, having paid a monthly premium you’ll receive a regular amount each month (for a limited period) to cover expenses such as mortgages and bills. Facing the pressure of paying a mortgage in good health is hard enough, but having to cope with it when you’re ill won’t exactly make you feel better. 

The law of the land

UAE labor laws regarding sick pay mean that employers aren’t complete ogres if you fall ill. Pursuant to UAE law, provided you’ve passed the probation period you can claim full pay for the first 15 days of your illness, then half for the next 30 days. The chances are this won’t cover your monthly expenses, which is when the mortgage insurance comes into its own.

The one thing to be aware of, however, is that employers don’t dish out the sick pay willy-nilly. If the illness is self-inflicted, such as an injury while playing pranks on your colleagues during the working day (it happens!), you’ll be on your own as regards sick pay. The employer won’t foot the bill for your antics, and the insurer isn’t likely to pay out any dirhams either.

Playing doctor

Think before you call in sick, for another way you can end up doing yourself out of dirhams is to go online and diagnose yourself what’s wrong with you, rather than pay a visit to the doctor. It may not be fun having the doctor pressing and poking around, but at least they’ll diagnose correctly (and the insurer has less excuse to withhold payment claiming you’ve been irresponsible). There have been cases of people who have wrongly diagnosed their own ailments and convinced themselves they’re terminally ill when in fact they only have a minor ailment.

One of the consequences is that people head out and purchase the wrong medicines or administer them incorrectly. Doctors in the UAE have reported patients going OTT with steroids to tackle pain in the joints, leading to kidney damage. The other problem is that by choosing the wrong medication, they could also be preventing something more serious being uncovered.  

Everyone gets ill from time to time. It’s unavoidable. However, you still have to be careful how you go about it if you want to be sure of income while you’re on the mend. Mortgage insurance takes a lot of the financial pressure off in an age in which people would rather sacrifice their health than their income. And when home is far from home, you want to at least be able to say that if all else fails then at least you have your health.

Hire a Proficient Lawyer for Effective Pre-Nuptial Agreement

If you are about to tie knots with your partner, you might be thinking what might happen if things do not work properly. Indeed, a proper prenuptial contract might save you from a messy divorce and it can offer some vital insights for your financial compatibility in the coming days. There are a few reasons why seeking legal suggestions for preparing pre-nuptial agreement is beneficial for you.

Prepare Legal Contract According to Current Laws

You may conduct your research and find the basic information about the law of your country relating to the prenuptial contract. If you have hectic work schedule and do not wish to devote time to learn about the nitty-gritty of the relevant laws, then you must recruit a lawyer. A good lawyer may allow you to prepare a contract that fits your specifications and conveys what you wish to say.

 Suitable Legal Advice

Since most prenuptial contracts are examined by the court it is vital that you consult a lawyer that is best for this procedure. He listens to you intently and helps you prepare a contract with all your requirements included in it properly.  The best tip is to ask your fiancée hire a separate lawyer for individual consultation and does not leave her feel that you have taken advantage of the situation.

What are the things you must determine before hiring lawyer for pre-nuptial agreement?

You must ask your lawyer to prepare the final agreement only after you and your fiancé have decided on the essential terms. Make sure that you put these terms in written document and then give it to your lawyer. A prenuptial contract prepared by lawyer without taking your consent or suggestion may be biased and irrelevant. On the contrary, if you prepare an outline after thoughtful discussions with your fiancé and then present it your lawyer, the whole process of agreement drafting happens to be more balanced.

Steps To Be Followed For Finding a Reliable Lawyer

Finding an efficient lawyer who can help you solve your problem is not an easy task. You should not expect to get hold of a lawyer just by reading the newspaper advertisement or searching the phone book. You may find out the basic details from newspapers or advertisement but for choosing the lawyer you have to follow few more steps.

1. Go for the personal referral

The best approach is to take help of the people in your locality who have sought help of lawyer in the past for the same purpose. Ask the details of their lawyers and try to find out what exactly these people think of their lawyers. If you interact with at least ten or twelve people who have sought help of the lawyers for the similar purpose, it is expected that you will definitely find one for your legal help.

2. Consider a Specialist

Make sure that you hire someone who is specialized in handling pre nuptial agreement issues. In preparing pre-nuptial agreement or other similar cases on family law Jersey lawyers have gained expertise and experience. The best part is that these specialized lawyers offer quality services and also charge affordable fee from the clients.

3. Interview your prospective lawyers

Once you get the name and contact details of potential lawyers, your next step is to talk to them personal. You can send mails or call them directly to fix up an informal meeting with the lawyer. In this way you can get the scope to know a lawyer closely and also find out his mode of working.

During the interview it is important to check if you are comfortable working with the person. Irrespective of long years of experience, if you do not feel comfortable talking to the person during the interview, you must immediately look for the alternative option. You must always have faith on your instincts and hire someone with whom you are compatible with. Look out for the communication skills, promptness and other personal traits. Only when you are convinced you must recruit him for your job.

Follow these steps and find a suitable lawyer who can help you prepare pre-nuptial contract. 

Things you should know about a CIBIL Score

What is CIBIL?

CIBIL stands for Credit Information Bureau India Limited and it provides a credit report that helps consumers or loan seekers as well as banks or loan providers to make an informed decision regarding rejecting or approving any loan application. CIBIL was established in the August of 2000 and it is basically a credit Information company i.e. CIC or in simple words a credit bureau. Since last ten years it has played a very crucial and an important role in the Indian financial market.

CIBIL also keeps track of commercial and business payments that are relevant for loan approval or reflect their credit history. Banks and credit card companies supply the relevant information on a monthly basis to CIBIL, which helps compile the Credit Information Report (CIR) and generate a credit score. The Revenue bureau of India (RBI) licenses and approves the establishment of any credit bureau. Any credit bureau such as CIBIL is governed by the laws and regulation of The Credit Information Companies Regulation Act, established in 2005.

What is a credit score?

CIBIL has two crucial products namely the CIBIL TransUnion Score and the CIR. The CIR comes with a credit score that reflects the candidate’s credit history and explains their previous loan and credit card summary. Credit or CIBIL score can be any three digit number ranging from 300-900 and reflects upon an individual’s or a loan applicant’s capacity to repay the loan. CIBIL has fostered the concept and vision of Credit information sharing. This numeric summary of the individual’s credit history basically reflects upon the person’s financial stability. Higher score i.e. closer to 900 indicates higher chances of having a loan request approved and sanctioned easily.

The CIBIL TransUnion Score has its own definition of explaining what an ideal and a good score should be like. The concept of good score also differs from one bank to another. For some a score of 670 might be good enough but for others it might mean a bad score. Some loan providers require a score of higher than 750 also.

Role of CIBIL in loan approval process:

The CIBIL score acts like a screening stage in the loan application process. The CIR helps determine the customer’s eligibility in terms of their capacity to undertake more debt and then repay all the debt along with other financial commitments. After this preliminary screening process other relevant documents such as income and tax proof are required in order to complete the loan approval process. Having a credit report has helped getting a loan approved in a shorter duration of time and it also proves to be a cheaper and an economical method for the banks and the loan providers. This has increased the transparency in the loan approval process and helps a loan seeker be clear about what is expected out of them in their loan application process.

How to Use Inventive Problem Solving to Refine Your Business

Business today is full of perplexing problems, especially in early stage companies, just ask anyone with their masters in management. Often, the more traditional ways businesses used to solve problems are outmoded, or simply not fast enough. These are the times when you should employ creative problem solving methodology to fix a problem or come up with an alternative solution to an issue that is challenging your organization.

In the very earliest days of a company, you can use innovative problem solving to test an idea.  This type of solution can be derived from using a four step process:

  • What is the opportunity? The first step is to gain a complete comprehension of solutions already on the market. If you’re designing a consumer product, observe how it is already being used in the marketplace. What do they like? What annoys them? Have users invented their own work arounds for product flaws? 
  • What if? Identify these key points, and discuss them among your colleagues. Make a list of possible solutions and brainstorm different ways to solve the problems. This is a better system that just throwing ideas against the wall without having done the discovery process. You’ve identified possible needs here and are thinking of creative solutions.
  • What wows? Once you have identified the entire spectrum of possible solutions, contemplate and discuss which ones will work.  Look for those that fall into the “wow zone”, those innovations that will motivate the public to buy your product or service. Now you start to employ standard business models to each of the solution, and narrow the list down to some viable ends.
  • What works? You’re at the state where you can create prototypes or beta versions and bring them back to the group you originally observed. After initial feedback, return to the office and reinvent, hone where you need to. Small failures sometimes lead to big successes.

For more general problem solving, group brainstorming involves everybody, and can be a fun as well as productive session.

Why a group?   Better decisions. It can be argued that group brainstorming creates better solutions by affecting one of the three elements of decisions:

  • Criteria – group participation assures that more people that will be affected by the decisions will be involved in the process.
  • Cause/Effect – by including people with specialized expertise, you can be assured that more specific proposals, relevant to the problem, will be put forth.
  • Alternatives – groups tend to offer a higher quantity of solutions, as well as a greater variety.

The role of the leader in group brainstorming can take one of two paths, either as an advocate, or as a moderator. It’s best if one role or the other is taken, and that role not change during the session.

When you set out to resolve sticky situations in your company, answer two questions prior to setting out to find a solution:

1. What kind of problem is this?  A product modification, distribution, marketing?  Identify the core area of the problem prior to setting out to find a solution.

2. Who else has faced this type of problem?  Often it’s best to take a lesson from history rather than ‘reinventing the wheel.’  What companies or products have suffered from this type of situation in the past?  Did they solve it?  How did they solve it? What is the long term result of their solution to the problem?

Creative problem solving can be a great tool for most organizations, large or small, successful and mature, or just starting out. It’s important to identify a time or space specifically for this session, and not have employees or outside advisors coming and going during the session, checking email, answering phone calls.

You might consider having them “off-campus” in a nice setting like a hotel or resort, as many employees will consider that kind of session a “perk” and not “work”.

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