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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

FICO: Confused about Credit Scores? You’re Not Alone

October 30, 2015 12:51 am

Whether for free or a fee, numerous websites offer credit scores. However, according to a recent FICO® report, the majority of credit score inquirers believe they’re receiving their FICO Score, when, in fact, they’re receiving a non-FICO score.

“Because other credit scores look similar to FICO Scores, consumers have no way of determining, through the credit score itself, whether or not it’s a FICO Score,” says Jim Wehmann, executive vice president for scores at FICO. “Credit scores are unlike other products; the consequences of not recognizing credit scores from different companies can be much more serious. The new research findings bring to light an important issue: if the majority of consumers are confused about these non-FICO credit scores being provided to them, then millions of Americans are likely to be mistaken about their actual creditworthiness.”

As a separate study recently revealed, FICO Scores are used in more than 90 percent of decisions involving approval of credit applications in the United States, including mortgage loans. According to the FICO report, over 80 percent of consumers believe the non-FICO credit scores they obtain are scores widely used by lenders to make credit decisions.

The mathematical formulas used by each scoring company are unique and create credit scores for the same consumers that are often significantly different from their FICO Scores—sometimes 100 points or more.  With such large score differences, not understanding that the credit score obtained isn’t a FICO Score can cause consumers to over- or underestimate how a lender will view them, with serious consequences for financial health and wellbeing.

Today, the holders of more than 100 million consumer credit accounts have access to their FICO Scores for free through the FICO Score Open Access Program.

Source: FICO

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Mobile Bankers: Tips to Protect Financial Data

October 29, 2015 12:51 am

Mobile banking has grown exponentially in popularity since it was first introduced—and fraudsters are taking notice.

“Mobile banking provides an unprecedented level of convenience for bank customers, and while it is a safe way to conduct banking transactions, customers need to remember that any device used to connect to the Internet is vulnerable,” says Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association (ABA).

If you use mobile banking to manage your finances, take the following precautions to protect the data on your device:

Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when you’re punching in sensitive information. 

Use the pass code lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your email, texts and other information if your device is lost or stolen.

Log out completely and close the app when you finish a mobile banking session.

Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren't very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.

Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”

Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.

Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a Social Security number on your mobile device.

Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. Be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming your device is infected.

Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.

Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.

Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software. 

Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Source: ABA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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