Social media is a great way to stay in touch with old friends, connect with new ones, and promote yourself and your business. But it can also be a catalog of our best and worst moments. Over the past few years, social media has been an increasingly popular way for many to gain a candid look into a person’s life. There have been countless stories about employers using social media as an easy and accessible background check. It has proven so popular, in fact, that lenders may soon be added to the list of social media detectives.
Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that smaller lenders are starting to mine social media in an attempt to determine an applicant’s creditworthiness. What made the story especially interesting was a quote from Anthony Sprauve, senior consumer-credit specialist at FICO. According to Sprauve, FICO is looking into the possibility of using social media as a contributing factor to a person’s credit score.
While Sprauve was clear that the time is not yet right to make such a change, the fact that it is a consideration is enough to seriously consider how our tweets and status updates could affect our financial future.
If more lenders adopt this policy, they will likely be combing through years’ worth of social media posts. If you are concerned that what you say in the privacy of your Facebook page could put you at risk, consider the following tips.
Stay up-to-date on Privacy Settings
Most social media sites frequently update their privacy settings, changing who can and cannot see your posts. If you want to lockdown your profiles so that only certain people can see your posts, you can find step-by-step guides online.
Be Mindful of What You Post Online
This sounds simple enough, but we all know people who use Twitter as their personal venting outlet. Complaining about your boss, bragging about playing hooky, or lamenting about financial problems could come back to haunt you if a lender is examining your posts. Even ironic or sarcastic posts could make you look bad in the eyes of a lender who does not have the context that your friends do.
Update Your Online Resume
LinkedIn is a great way to connect professionally, but many people forget about it once they have landed a job. This can mean your online resume is seriously outdated, and not match the information you have provided to lenders. Before applying for a loan, make sure your online resume is updated with your current employer and job title, to prevent any potential red flags.
Build Up Your Social Network
These tips aren’t designed to scare you away from social media. It is still a powerful platform for both individuals and professionals. This is especially true if you are a small business owner. Social media allows you to connect directly with your customers, and allows everyone to see how you interact with them. This could dramatically help your chances of qualifying for a loan, especially if your reviews and ratings online are positive.
Above all, be mindful of the things you post online, because you never know what could eventually come back to haunt you.