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Can't Get a Loan? Blame Your Facebook Friends

Can't Get a Loan? Blame Your Facebook Friends
September 6, 2013
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Here's another reason to choose your Facebook friends wisely: Your social networking activity could affect your credit score and ability to get a loan.

Some tech start-ups are using social data as a way of measuring creditworthiness, according to a recent report on Fox Business News. That could be good or bad news—depending on who you're friends with on Facebook.

Lenddo relies on a person's online reputation to determine their financial reliablility. Kreditech uses up to 8,000 data points—pulling data from Facebook, Amazon and eBay—to assess a loan application.

Though the practice hasn't yet gone mainstream, it's a good reason to go review social media best practices. Here are some good tips for protecting your reputation and identity online:

1. Limit who you are sharing the information with — Make sure you customize your settings so that you are keeping strangers out and only sharing your information, posts, and pictures with people in your inner circle. Most sites will even allow you to group friends into different categories, so you can create additional levels of limiting information. Take advantage of this option when available.

2. Opt-out of Checking-In — Some sites will allow other individuals to check you in to geographic locations. Many people don’t mind this option, but remember that when you tell people where you are, you are also telling them where you aren’t – at home. Criminals use this information to gain access to your home, which contains your valuables, including your identification. Consider disabling this feature.

3. Limit the amount of personal information you post — Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, including your birth date, physical address or other details that help identity thieves. If your connections post information about you, make sure the combined information is not more than you would be comfortable with strangers knowing.

4. Be wary of strangers — The internet makes it easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives. Consider limiting the people who are allowed to contact you on these sites. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal or agreeing to meet them in person.

5. Watch out for Apps — Many apps have access to your friends list, posts, and other information. You should consider editing the app privacy settings, either within the social media site or each app individually, to remove these permissions. Remove any apps that are no longer in use.

6. Remove yourself from Public Searches — For those who are extremely security conscious, some sites grant you the ability to remove your profile from being found when someone looks for you on a search engine. If you want to remain hidden, then look for this option and activate it.

7. Stay updated on Privacy Policy Changes — Privacy policies change frequently from site to site so make sure you regularly watch for updates and review your privacy settings.

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