When applying for a mortgage or auto loan, a lot of personal and financial information is transmitted between the borrower and lender.
As November 30 is Computer Security Day and Cyber Monday this year, and many people are shopping Holiday sales online, we thought it was an appropriate time to remind you of the steps you can take to help ensure that your online activities and financial transactions are conducted securely.
- Create a new, unique username and complex password specifically for each financial account, rather than one currently using to access other accounts. Avoid using words that can easily be found online in your social media posts, such as a pet’s name.
- Look for the signs of a secure browsing session if you’re applying online for a mortgage or auto loan or conducting any financial transaction online. A secure website URL should display a closed padlock icon and begin with https.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots or networks to access financial documents or share personal information. They are generally not as secure as your home or office network.
- Subscribe to a VPN service to encrypt your connection and deter cyber-snoopers if you must use a public Wi-Fi service or have concerns about overall online security.
- Financial institutions that use consumer-permissioned data provide the most security and reduce fraud when transferring personal and financial data for a loan application. Rather than copying your bank statements, W-2s, and other documents, then emailing, faxing, or mailing the lender documents, a borrower will enter their username, password, or other authentication credentials directly into the lender’s online application or processing portal themselves. The lender is then able to securely transfer the encrypted online banking data required for the loan application. Consumer-permissioned data puts the consumer in control of what information is shared with insurers, lenders, and other financial institutions.