Looking for a loan online but worried about your personal information? Rightly so — it’s a hot commodity out there on the web.
In the right hands, you can use it to access emergency loans that help you out in tough times. But in the wrong hands, fraudsters can steal your identity and run your finances into the ground.
While this is no doubt a big threat, it’s not a guarantee of borrowing money online. You can protect your personal data anytime you hit up the Internet for some funds.
Here are some tips to help you borrow cash safely online when using short term installment loans.
Look for Unusual Fees or Obligations
Every personal loan comes with fees, but some don’t belong in your contract. Upfront or advance fees are perhaps one of the most heinous kinds, as you have to pay them before you receive your funds.
This is a scam. Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s post on it here.
Any lender slapping this fee onto your loan doesn’t care about your financial health, and if they don’t care about that, they probably don’t care about your online security either.
Confirm They Have a License
A license confirms a lender follows the laws your state set to standardize the industry. Some of these laws protect you from predatory lending practices. Others make sure a lender takes the necessary steps to protect your privacy.
A lender without a license doesn’t play by the rules, and it may not safeguard your personal information correctly, if at all.
You can find this license on a lender’s website, but always check your state Attorney General’s office to confirm what you see is true.
You can’t get an online loan without first sharing your personal information. You fill out an application with your name, social security number, and financial accounts.
This is all above board — any genuine lender needs to see this info to run a credit check on your name to ensure their financial products are right for you.
Apply with a Secure Network
You never want to do your banking on a public computer or while using free Wi-Fi. You can’t guarantee these devices and connections are protected.
When you are ready to fill out an application, do it from home on a protected network. Make sure your router is password protected and keep an eye on any unusual devices logging onto your network. These tips help prevent fraudsters from spying on the information you share over this connection.
Make a Strong Password
If you’re approved for an online installment loan, you’ll have to make an account with your lender. This will come in handy, as it lets you check-in on your loan online whenever you want to see your balance, repayment schedule, and more.
Because this account contains confidential information, you’ll want to safeguard it with a strong password. When you make yours, avoid easy-to-guess names or birthdays as these will be the first things hackers use to crack your account.
Be Cautious of Who You Borrow from
There’s a risk of identity theft any time you exchange personal information over the web, and that’s true whether you’re shopping for a new pair of headphones or taking out an installment loan.
Luckily, you can limit that risk by browsing with your security in mind. Remember these tips the next time you need help in an emergency. They can help you get the cash you need safely.