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An online line of credit is a crucial safety net for your finances. It helps you sleep at night knowing you have cash on standby, ready at a moment’s notice.
But for all its advantages, an online line of credit exposes you to risk. Like any financial product — from simple checking accounts to installment loans — a line of credit represents a treasure trove of personal information. And fraudsters would love to get their hands on that treasure.
Luckily, fraud is never a foregone conclusion of using a line of credit online. With the right habits, you can rely on your safety net without worry.
1. Borrow from Trusted Sources
Hackers deliberately target some financial institutions with weak security to access your information.
While you can’t do much to improve a company’s security protocols from the outside, you can be selective about which financial institution you do business with.
Make sure your lender takes your security seriously by researching online direct lenders’ security policies. You can also head online to get a sense of a financial institution’s reputation.
Take, for example, the CC Flow Line of Credit online reviews from Trustpilot or Site Jabber. You can read through previous users’ opinions to get an insider’s look.
2. Keep Your Information Private
Your personal information is on a need-to-know basis. You shouldn’t share this data with anyone but your lender and trusted retailers.
- Account numbers
- Login credentials
- Contact details
As it’s an online line of credit, there’s a good chance your financial institution will contact you by email. Be careful here — always check that the email comes from the appropriate address and not something from Hotmail or Gmail.
You should also be aware a lender will never ask you to reply to their email with any personal information. They’ll redirect you to their online platform where you can service your account. Just to be doubly sure, hover over these links before you click them to ensure they’re going to the right place.
3. Use Strong Passwords
Last year, brute force attacks grew by 670 percent. This hacking technique involves a fraudster attempting to guess your password until they crack it.
A strong password can shut down a brute force attack, even when the fraudster uses the latest ciphers to hack your account. The best passwords are at least 15 characters long, and they’re a random assortment of letters, symbols, and numbers.
Most of all, a strong password is unique. Don’t reuse the same email and password for multiple accounts. If one gets hacked, they all do.
4. Use Secure Devices and Networks
Any time you punch in your strong password to access your online account, do it from a trusted device and network. This means you’ll have to wait until you’re at home to check your line of credit.
Using the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks is asking for trouble. Since it’s unsecured, anyone within range can access it. Fraudsters know how to exploit this shared connection to spy on your activity, peeking at confidential passwords and account numbers.
Security is possible when using a line of credit. These tips are proof of that, so adopt them into your financial routine. They’ll help you protect your identity whenever you rely on your online line of credit.