Getting a loan is easier than ever today. Gone are the days when you needed to go into a bank branch and speak with an advisor face-to-face.
You can do everything online nowadays. You don’t even need to be home when you apply or manage a cash advance online. Thanks to the ubiquity of free Wi-Fi available in most shopping malls, coffee shops, and airports, you can get cash loans on the fly. This comes in handy when you’re out of data and you need help fast in an emergency. You can pull out your phone to search and apply for cash advances on the spot using any hotspot.
But before you join a public network to get a quick loan, you need to understand the risk this connection poses for your finances.
Free Wi-Fi is an Unsecured Network
The hotspots cafés offer usually don’t have a password. Even if they do, these passwords are available to anyone who buys a latte.
Countless people share the same connection. While many people at neighboring tables are just like you, browsing Instagram or researching cash advances, others are cybercriminals hoping to hijack this shared connection.
Cybercriminals can track any activity shared between your device and the server with the right tools.
Borrowing Loans Over the Phone Requires Sharing VIP Information
Researching cash advances on public Wi-Fi isn’t a cause for alarm. You can type in “I need money now” into your favorite search engine and visit financial institutions without sharing much more than your cookies.
Financial institution MoneyKey moonlights as a financial literacy resource page, giving you a chance to learn the differences between cash advance installment loans and lines of credit. This research won’t pose much of a risk on a shared connection.
The possibility of danger only enters the equation when you go to the next step and apply for a loan by phone. Online direct lenders want to see financial data before approving or rejecting your application, so legitimate online loans require personal information.
This data may include your contact details, banking info, social security number, pay schedule, and employment history. Together, this data represents a goldmine for cybercriminals. This is all the info they need to access current accounts and open fraudulent payday cash advances in your name.
Besides running up expensive payday loans under your name, cybercriminals may use this shared connection to target your inbox. If you check your email, they can send phishing campaigns that spread malware, such as the modular Trojan Emotet.
Wait to Borrow Until You’re on a Trusted Network
The golden rule to online finances is this: don’t use public Wi-Fi. You’ll want to handle all your financial housekeeping until you’re on a trusted network — whether it’s from your router back at home or data provided through your phone company.
You can boost your at-home security even more by following these online security tips:
- Reset Your Router’s Password. The default password is easily found online, so you’ll want to reset your password to something unique. Bonus: a password of your choosing will be easier to remember.
- Use a Firewall: Many of the biggest anti-virus companies provide a firewall with their services. A firewall monitors and filters traffic according to security best practices.
- Don’t Click Unfamiliar Attachments: How well can you spot a phishing scam? Take the phishing quiz Jigsaw from Google to see how you fare. It’s a good refresher for what you should and shouldn’t click in your inbox, even from a trusted sender like your financial institution.
These security tips will keep you safe while you apply for or manage loans by phone over a trusted network. As for a free hotspot, use it with discretion. Only connect when you absolutely have to and never when you have to share financial data.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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