Online loans make it possible to borrow money on the fly. You can get a loan online wherever you are as long as you can find some Wi-Fi — whether it’s from the library, a café, or the nearest hotspot.
But just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
The truth is, public Wi-Fi poses a danger to your finances. While it may be convenient if you’re far from home or low on data, you should never hop onto an unsecured network at any step of the borrowing process.
Public Wi-Fi is Not Secure
The average public Wi-Fi or hotspot doesn’t have a password, which means anyone with a capable device can use it. And even if it has a password, most libraries and coffee shops share it freely with visitors.
This means you have a lot of neighbors using the same connection, and some of them aren’t that nice.
Knowledgeable People Can Eavesdrop on Your Session
Anyone with the right know-how can exploit this shared connection. The latest hacking tools make it possible to snoop on this connection and spy on your activity.
In other words, they can intercept the data that you accept and receive on an unsecured network. If you apply for your loan over the phone while sipping on a latte at your favorite café, a cybercriminal could see everything they need to steal your identity.
After all, most loans over the phone require your contact details, social security number, employment history, and banking info. These are rich resources for cybercriminals, who can use this data to open a fraudulent cash advance in your name.
Due to the nature of the network, you could expose confidential info, even if you’re just checking your balance or making a payment. Snooping can happen even if online direct lenders require a secure login before you access any personal information.
Cybercriminals Can Spread Malware
Sharing a connection with unprotected users also makes it incredibly easy for cybercriminals to send you malicious software. You can pick up malware that gives a hacker access to your device the next time you use it, like the Emotet trojan that spread like wildfire through Wi-Fi connections last year.
Other Wi-Fi attacks include:
- Denial of Service (DoS)
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
Don’t Do Any Financial Housekeeping on an Unsecured Network
The average smartphone is capable of almost anything nowadays, so you might be used to carrying your finances in your back pocket.
There are a lot of great apps out there, but you’ll want to think twice before doing any financial task on public Wi-Fi.
This goes beyond getting loans over the phone. Here are some other chores you’ll want to reschedule until you’re on a secure network:
- Checking your bank balance
- Venmoing a friend money or receiving cash from a friend
- Paying a bill
- Signing into your credit card
- Checking your credit score
Hopefully, this guide has changed the way you view a hotspot. While it may be convenient, it also paints a target on your back.
You can remove this target simply by doing your banking at home. And for an added measure of security, change your router’s default name and password. This simple change can make your secure network at home impenetrable — whether you’re looking for loans over the phone or just checking your email.