Is My Personal Information Safe When I Apply Online?
Is my personal information safe, specifically, when I apply online for a home loan or mortgage?
You might be wondering how safe and secure your personal data when you submit your mortgage application. We all know that applying for a loan nowadays is notoriously full of extensive amounts of paperwork. Lenders need more information as they have to comply with stricter lending regulations and standards.
It is worth noting that when you apply online for a mortgage, you will have to provide your lender with some of your most sensitive personal information, such as your bank account information, social security number, employment information, and tax documents, etc. Also, note that lenders need recent tax returns and paycheck stubs, which you may also submit electronically. There is no doubt that this is not the information you want to be readily available to anybody. You would prefer that only those who need should see it in order to process your mortgage.
How Safe Is Your Personal Information?
It is no secret that lenders need in-depth information about your finances. Some things can go wrong with that sensitive data when you share it.
Institutional Data Breaches
Did you know that financial services firms reported more than a hundred data security breaches in 2018, according to digital security firm Bitglass? This is why when you provide your sensitive information, such as tax returns, on a mortgage application, particularly if you do it online, your data is at risk of compromise.
You also face the risk of your mortgage application proving invalid. Some of them are intercepted Wi-Fi signals, hacked computers, and lost or stolen smartphones. And this paves the way for identity theft. So, you have to be careful. Here’s what you can do…
How to Keep Your Personal Information Safe Online
As we live in an age of data breaches and rampant identity theft, sharing your personal information with anyone is a valid concern. So, let us discuss some of the steps you can take to protect your personal and sensitive information.
Apply With Well-Known and Reputable Lenders
One of the best practices is to get a mortgage or other loan with a lender, such as a bank, you know, and trust. It is better to proceed with caution if you are shopping online for a mortgage or other loan and stumble upon a bank or financial institution you have never heard of. Although this does not necessarily mean the lender is fraudulent, keep in mind that some thieves and hackers will set up fake websites in order to get your sensitive information. So, steer clear of them.
Share Files Securely
Only use a secure network connection when submitting your mortgage application if you are applying for a mortgage electronically. For example, make sure that your Wi-Fi network is password protected. Also, refrain from sharing your sensitive information from your smartphone on public networks. And that is not all; note that email is not a foolproof way to send your files securely. This is why you should use encryption software packages to keep your data secure.
You Have the Right to Control Information
The law obligates lenders, such as banks and financial institutions, to provide consumers with proper disclosure of how they use your personal financial information. Also, they have to indicate if they will share your personal information with non-affiliated third parties. Keep in mind that you have the legal right to refuse to allow any third parties to access your information.