8 Tips for Identifying a Credible Lender Who Securely Protect Borrower Information
When applying for a home loan a lot of personal and financial information is transmitted between the borrower and lender. This week being National Consumer Protection Week makes it a suitable time to review ways to identify a credible home loan lender who provides secure transmission and storage of documents.
Before supplying personal and financial information online, look for these indicators to ensure the company meets your privacy expectations:
1. If you are qualifying for a home loan online, look for the signs of a secure browsing session, e.g., the presence of a closed padlock in your browser window and a URL that begins with "https:".
2. Create a unique user name and password for your online home loan application rather than one you’re currently using to access other accounts for additional security.
3. Read the company’s privacy statement to ensure the lender meets your privacy expectations. Here is the Starkey Mortgage Privacy Statement: https://www.starkeymtg.com/privacy-statement
4. Avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots or networks to access your loan documents as they are generally not as secure as your home or office network.
5. Only share personal information via a secure website. If you must use a public WI-FI network, send information only to websites that are fully encrypted to protect your information. To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the start of the web address (the “s” is for secure).
6. Use an email system that requires you to authenticate (log in) to be able to view the contents of the email and attachments.
7. When electronically signing your loan disclosure documents, look for the same “locked” signs of secure browsing sessions (see #1 above).
8. If you are not comfortable electronically signing your loan documents, your lender should be willing and able to collect your signed disclosure documents in a non-electronic fashion, e.g., via regular mail, hand deliver to the lender’s office, etc.
Additional information from the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT):