How your Facebook Activity, Friends May Hurt Your Credit

Traditionally, your credit score was all that lenders required to create a good financial snapshot of your credit worthiness, the higher the better.
But things have begun changing, and your FICO credit score may no longer be the only factor that banks judge.

A growing number of private lenders have positioned themselves as alternatives to traditional banks with the hopes that they can attract people who are willing to pay but may not meet all the qualifications for a formal loan.

According to a Chicago Tribune piece, the recent mortgage crisis has lenders trying to learn more about applicants than just job and credit history. To avoid the incomplete data that contributed to the widespread string of defaults, credit reporting agencies are now including factors like history of child support payments, rental payment, and phone and utility bills.

In 2013, lenders have begun looking at other area, including your online contacts.
CNN reports that a company called Lenddo offers loans, but considers details like your Facebook and Twitter friends. You start the loan application process by registering your Facebook and Twitter account with them. Then, they’ll look through your friends and followers and your connections in the Lenddo community, and create your “Lenddo score.”

The company said your score could be dinged if any of your friends is also registered and hasn’t paid off a Lenddo loan. The company encourages applicants to only have connections “you know and trust in real life” and also pledges to keep all user data confidential.

A company called Kreditech looks at not just at Facebook/Twitter activity but your eBay and Amazon accounts when considering short-term micro loans. It of 8,000 points of reference used including how you fill out forms (all caps is worse than upper- and lower-cases).

It’s not any revelation that strangers are looking at your social networking profiles for professional reasons. It’s becoming more common for recruiters or prospective employers to check out Facebook and Twitter activity to form a good picture of a candidate’s background and worthiness.

Users can control their privacy, of course, so strangers won’t see photos of you partying in college or discover personal information like your location or family members. You also can delete or untag yourself in photos that may not show you in the best light.

But if you authorize this access, especially at those less conventional lending places, they do have the ability to look through all your pages and photo albums.

Concerns about online privacy go much further than worrying about strangers seeing pictures of your kids or monitoring conversations with your friends. With all of your personal information online, you’re also more susceptible to ID theft, so consider protecting yourself from this with a identity protection service like Lifelock.

There’s always a temptation to share information with the wider Internet, especially when there are so many attractive offers. But just like in real life, smart users should be cautious by “friending” people that they know and trust in real life and only sharing personal and financial information with secure sites.

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