If your life revolves around writing clever status updates and bragging about yourself on social media, here’s why you should resist sharing your Credit Score.
There isn’t much that has been left out of the realm of online sharing these days. From childhood pictures, photos of the food we eat to even the thoughts passing through our mind, we’ve barely kept anything out of the public domain.
Naysayers would call oversharing the bane of our generation for there’s little that we’ve stopped short of sharing with our friends online. However, there are some really compelling reasons why you should limit sharing your financial information, including your Credit Score, online. Read on to know why.
Your credit report contains much more than your Credit Score:
Credit bureaus like Experian, TransUnion and CIBIL generate your credit report, which contains much more than just your three-digit Credit Score. It includes other vital information about you like your address, PAN number, your credit history etc. Needless to say, social media is not the place to disclose information of this nature about yourself. There are scam artists aplenty on social media who are always on the lookout for easy targets.
Take the case of Sakshi Singh from Lucknow. While checking her Credit Score online on one of those websites that offer your Credit Score for free, Sakshi was redirected to a credit bureau’s website that offered her the option of sharing her score on Facebook after receiving the score.
As someone who likes to use social media to spread awareness, Sakshi took the bait and shared her Credit Score on Facebook. She thought sharing her Credit Score online would inspire her friends to raise their financial awareness and inspire credit health. Unfortunately, she couldn’t have been more wrong.
She was soon inundated with a barrage of emails from individuals posing as consultants from “credit improvement services” who wanted to recommend easy ways to boost her Credit Score. However, Sakshi was prudent enough to not fall for these emails and put her finances in jeopardy.
Additional Reading: Now You Can Insure Yourself From Cyber Frauds!
What can possibly happen if you share your credit information?
Nowadays, cyber fraud is as common as petty theft. As identity theft and cybercrime are becoming more sophisticated in nature, protecting your personal information online should take priority over spreading general financial awareness.
Even with scraps of information that you share online, fraudsters are smart enough to piece together your full financial profile and position their phishing emails to entice you into further disclosing your private information. In fact, you might not even be able to figure out that something is amiss with these mails given how genuine they sound and appear.
Typically, these fake emails raise an alarm about your account and urge you to take action immediately by replying to the email or clicking a link to disclose confidential information about yourself.
According to security experts, sharing just your three-digit Credit Score doesn’t pose a very big risk as long as you’re making it a point not to share personally identifying information from your credit report along with it.
Additional Reading: Why Your Credit Score Isn’t Improving
How to keep your financial information safe online?
A couple of months ago, through a Twitter thread that went viral, the TRAI chairman R S Sharma, in a bid to disprove the theory that Aadhaar compromises the privacy of a person, shared his Aadhaar number and challenged people to show how mere knowledge of this unique number was enough to dig out his personal details and possibly harm him.
What followed was a deluge of tweets that revealed Mr. Sharma’s PAN Card number, his address, his phone number and so on. While Mr. Sharma dismissed those tweets saying that nothing was revealed that was not already public information, it still goes to show how even small details are enough to piece together your entire profile by absolute strangers.
Additional Reading: A Case of the Credit Score Blues
While Mr. Sharma may have managed to get out of this online tussle unscathed, unless you really don’t mind thousands of strangers knowing where you stay and what your phone number is, never share your personal information online in the pursuit of mindless daredevilry.
Here are some pointers on how you can keep your financial information safe online:
- Contact a financial institution directly: Most online phishing scams will either email or call you directly to gain personal information like your CVV number or steal your identity. In fact, most of the time, it may be even difficult for you to tell these fake emails from genuine one. In case you receive a suspicious mail like this, contact the financial institution directly for clarification.
- Update passwords periodically: For various online accounts, create passwords that are difficult to decipher and make sure they contain a substantial amount of special characters. Avoid passwords like your date of birth, your nickname or your pet’s name etc.
- Establish two-factor authentication: Never save passwords on your banking app or browser while using any banking/ financial app that has access to your private information.
- Monitor your accounts from a private network: Never carry out any financial transaction using a public Wi-Fi network at a coffee shop or airport. Use a private, home network instead. Monitor your financial accounts regularly and periodically change your passwords in order to catch any sort of fraudulent activity early on.
Additional Reading: How To Keep Your Aadhaar Data Secure
Not sure if you have a noteworthy Credit Score? Well, you can find out in under 3 mins on our website for free! If you’re worried about whether your data stays secure on our website, we assure you that at BankBazaar, we offer full encryption of your private data and will never misuse it. Give it a shot.