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Beware These 3 Financial Red Flags

Managing your money has never been easier thanks to budgeting apps, online loans, and web-based banking. But their convenience increases your risks of making a costly mistake that exposes you to fraud.

Luckily, fraud isn’t a guaranteed outcome of your digital financial management style. You just have to learn how to read the signs, and this list helps you do just that. Between bad online behavior and deceptive business practices, heed these signs as a warning to shape up or ship out.

1. There’s No Privacy Policy

Any financial task you want to carry out online relies on one thing: a simple exchange of your personal information. Whether you’re opening a savings account, registering for an investment portfolio, or requesting an online installment loan, you need to share your info to create a profile, and again any time you want to log in.

The tidbits that make up your personal information are valuable data points. They represent the keys to your online identity, so you’ll want to ensure you share them with companies you trust.

Before you make an account, check a bank or lender’s privacy policy. They should make it clear how they intend to collect, use, and share your info. Take a direct lender like MoneyKey as an example. If you visit www.MoneyKey.com, you’ll be able to see how a legitimate lender conducts itself when granting installment loans online.

2. Using the Same Password for Everything

Nowadays, a simple password doesn’t cut it. Most online services require at least eight characters, including upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Some even rate your password fitting these requirements, and if they deem it too simple, they may reject it.

By the time you land a strong password that’s up to snuff, you probably don’t want to think about creating another password for the rest of your life. Nearly 60% of people use the same password for everything, but you shouldn’t. Using one password for everything is risky — even if it has all the other markers of a strong password.

Using unique passwords limits the impact of theft. In the event a breach does uncover your login credentials, it only exposes the password you used for that account. Hackers won’t be able to use this password for every other account connected to that email.

3. Unusual Email Requests

While legitimate companies may send an email from time to time, they’ll do it in a way that follows basic rules. They won’t use aggressive or threatening language, and they won’t request you wire them money, click an unusual link, or reply directly to their email.

These are tactics used by scammers pretending to be a real company you may have an account with. They try to trick you into sharing information by using their logos, headers, or fonts.

At first look, these emails may look legit, but they give themselves away in other ways.

  • Scammers tend to use an unusual domain name.
  • They may also cc multiple people in the same email, which a legit company would never do.
  • Fraudsters ask you to update your profile information or reply with account numbers in the email rather through your account settings.

Managing your money online shouldn’t be a scary prospect, but you should have a healthy dose of skepticism. It can help you spot misleading or unfair business practices as well as prevent you from making simple mistakes.