Have you ever considered that your social media accounts could affect your credit or insurance application? It’s essential that you protect your privacy online and make sure you’re happy with certain information about you being readily available.
In this digital age where everything we like, activities we take part in, things we buy or covet, and people we spend time with are all logged online to make up a digital profile of each of us. Did you know that this information could provide valuable information to insurers and even lenders?
There are an increasing number of companies dedicated to finding out what they can about you and selling this information on to mortgage, credit and insurance providers. This gives them information on your general behaviour, spending and viewing habits.
For many years credit score companies have forensically analysed consumers credit history with a view to giving banks a picture of how good an investment you are. These companies don’t use social media in this way but that’s not to say other companies aren’t vetting your social media profiles and selling this information on.
An increasing number of payday lenders, insurers and mobile phone companies use these information providers to verify customer’s identities online and predict whether they will repay any loans applied for, and to check that they are telling the truth on their insurance application form.
Companies across all industries are using social media and draw upon your online information to make assumptions about you. So what can you do?
Protecting your privacy
First, be wary when signing up for newsletters, discounts, apps and signing into sites through your Facebook account. It may seem quicker and easier to log in via Facebook rather than going through the hassle of registering, but you need to understand what the permissions you are giving these apps actually means. You could be letting the company you are signing up with access your contacts, images, location or even your browsing history helping them to build up a picture of your interests and lifestyle.
Make sure you set your account to private and be mindful of what you are posting with a ‘public’ privacy setting. For example, do you want people and potentially other companies to know that you are expecting a baby, getting married, stating a new job, moving house or going on holiday? These are all indicators of your current and future spending habits. Remember that everything you share or post online tells people something about you and can be pieced together and used to build a profile.
Facebook now has an algorithm that will even scan keywords in your posts, for example “I’m getting married” could be used to indicate that you will be looking for a home, wedding venue even a honeymoon destination. So make sure you consider what you are posting and what it says about your interests.
Also remember current or future employers can see what you are doing if your posts aren’t private, and so for the sake of job security and to give yourself the best chance of success in any job applications, it’s essential you are careful about what you post.
On Facebook there is an option to view your profile from the public’s point of view. Try doing this and then adjust your privacy settings accordingly and go back and make pervious post private or delete anything that you aren’t comfortable with. There is also an option to download your entire Facebook history in the privacy section so you can see exactly what’s been stored about you.
The Mortgage Hub is an independent mortgage advisor serving the greater Glasgow area. Whether you are planning to buy your very first home and need the right first time buyer mortgage, or are looking to re-mortgage due to a house move or to growing family – we understand your journey is so much more than a financial process, it’s a journey to achieve your dreams, improve your lifestyle and achieve your true potential.