Because of the Internet and online activity, you are taking a risk every single time you share sensitive information about yourself or your finances. Many sites are secure and your information is safe, but there are far too many times when someone’s personal information is stolen and or misused. For these reasons it is important for you to learn how to protect your information and keep it safe even while online. Sites that offer payday loans or other types of loans over the Internet are just like all other types of sites meaning some are safe, and some are not. But just because there are a few scam sites that are trying to steal your information doesn’t mean there are not plenty of legitimate sites with which it is safe to do business. You just need to arm yourself with the right information so you know how to identify reputable sites.
How to Protect Your Personal Information Online
You should always be careful before sharing your personal information whether you are online or off. There are ways to protect your information while surfing the internet or doing business with online services.
- Learn to Watch for Scam Sites – You should always make sure you know who you are sharing your information with before you start spouting off your numbers and info. Become familiar with the signs of reputable sites and scam sites. For instance, a reputable and trustworthy site is not going to ask you to pay upfront in order to give you the loan.
- Encrypted Data – Make sure your browser is secure. In order to guard online transactions, use encryption software. This will basically scramble any information you send over the internet. Pay attention to the sites you are looking at applying for a loan from and always check the status bar for a “lock” icon. This tells you the site is safe and your information can be safely transmitted. Before you start to send any of your personal information, make sure there’s a lock icon on the site.
- Protect Your Passwords – always create a strong password, especially for sites where you handle any financial business including sites where you apply for an online loan. A strong password can help protect your information from being stolen.
- Be Careful on Social Sites – Be cautious about what you post on social media sites. If you put too much of your personal information out there it makes it easy for an identity thief to obtain it and use it to gain access. Never post your full legal name, SS number, address, phone number or any account numbers publically on such a site. Putting up too much personal information can allow someone else access to answers to challenge questions used to protect your accounts. Be very careful what you share.
Is it safe to share my Social Security number to apply for an online loan?
In order to protect your identity, you want to keep a close watch on your social security number and be cautious about who you share it with and why. Some institutions only use it to verify your identity. In these cases, it may be possible to use an alternative form of identification. Here are some questions you should ask before just handing over your social security number to a site:
- Why do they need your SS number?
- How are they going to use the SS number?
- How will they protect your personal information including your SS number?
- What happens if you don’t release your SS number to them?
Ultimately, you can choose whether or not you want to share your social security number with any other party. You must remember though that if they require the SS number for tax purposes or other reasons, they can deny services or benefits to you if you do not provide it. A business might ask for your SS number in order to check your credit before issuing you a loan, renting you an apartment or when you sign up for a utility service.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself When Applying for Online Loans
In most cases, sites are legitimate and it is okay to share the required information with a site in order to obtain a loan. Applying for a loan is a simple and fast process. You can get an approval in less than 24 hours and funds transferred to your bank in the matter of a few days depending on the loaning institution and its policies.
However, it is important to note there are some fraud sites out there preying on people who are in dire need of money. They know you need money quick and they are poised to take advantage of that. When you go to an online loan site there are some things to look for to ensure the site and your information is safe. Here are a few things to watch for:
- Know your credit score and check it before you apply for an online loan. Some online loans do not check your credit and it is irrelevant to obtaining the loan, but it’s still a good idea to know where your credit score stands.
- Beware that many scam or fraud sites set up their websites so they look like a legitimate company. They claim to be lenders so to make sure you are dealing with a legit company check these things too:
- Check your confirmation email to be sure it came from the same domain and a trusted company name and not from a group email address like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo.
- Remember to look for the padlock on the navigation bar indicating that information is transferred safely and the site is secure.
- If your browser warns you that a site has an expired security certificate or that the site you are entering is not secure – trust it and don’t go to the site.
One of the most common scams is for a site to pose as a legitimate site and then try to convince you to send them money before you can obtain the loan. Upfront fees is usually a sign that the site is dishonest. You should not have to send any money to cover anything like “credit insurance” or the first payment on the loan. If you are asked to send funds using a prepaid card, a gift card or a money transfer do not pursue a loan from that site. Legitimate lenders don’t function these ways.