The internet is a magical place. It has given us access to information an encyclopedia will never be able to match. It’s also brought us the convenience of shopping online, live streaming music, online banking and an endless number of apps for just about anything. And to top this all off, without the internet we’d never have lingo like LOL and YOLO, grumpy cat memes, selfies, Google Maps, the ability to Facebook stalk an ex, Pokémon Go, Netflix or the joy of falling down the YouTube rabbit hole when being tempted to watch just one more suggested video after the next. And let’s not forget terribly annoying and over-used hashtags like #nofilter (when there is very obviously a filter), #winning, #cleaneating, #follow4follow, #latergram and the ever popular #blessed.
However, the truth is that while the internet is a magical place it also has a dark side. We’re not talking about the dark web or darknets – although there is that too. We’re mostly talking about the dark side of how your information is used and acquired. Ever had your email or other private accounts hacked? Ever been victim to identity fraud or been notified about suspicious activity on your bank account? Everyone has heard of or knows someone who has falling victim to account hacking. It’s likely you’ve also heard of those who’ve bought something online, only to find that the website was a scam and not a legitimate business.
There are plenty of scammers out there, particularly when it comes to getting access to your online information. Paying attention to how best you can keep that safe and how to identify a legitimate online platform that protects your data, rather than extorts you, can give you peace of mind and keep you safe online.
Here are a couple of tips from CTO and co-founder of Lulalend, Neil Welman, to keep in mind as you share your information online:
Is the website or online business adhering to best practices?
According to Neil, “One of the important security measures that you should check for is that the site has a SSL certificate.” The certificate encrypts data that goes back and forth between you and the site and helps safeguard your important information. To see if a site has a SSL certificate check that the website URL starts with https and not http. You can also check that the URL contains a lock icon to the left of the URL. This icon indicates that any data that you share with the site is private. In addition, Neil says, “The site should always have a two-step verification system. In other words, a password and a secondary measure should be used to verify the identity of the user which is what Lulalend does in the final stage of the customer identification process.”
Look for signs that the company is legitimate
While this one isn’t foolproof it is something worth checking. Look to see if the company has included a physical address, contact numbers, and an email contact on their website so that you can verify the authenticity of the business. This means you can actually go check out the business or contact them directly to get a sense of whether they sound legit or not. It’s also not a bad idea to Google them and see what others have said online about them and if they are mentioned elsewhere.
Get in touch with their existing customers for a reference
Legitimate, successful businesses will have real customers. These are often listed on their websites, in the form of a short testimonial, case study or referral. Get on the phone with the listed customers and ask them about the business, how long they have been a customer, and how their experience has been.
Find out more about the business owners
Most websites will make mention of who the founders, owners or senior staff of the business are. Do some online ‘stalking’ if you’re feeling sceptical. Take a look at their LinkedIn profiles, find out if they have run other businesses and what their background and experience is. Do a quick search to see if any websites also have write-ups about them or if there are perhaps articles, press releases or online reviews about them or the business.
We’ve only mentioned a few practical things you can do and look out for if something doesn’t sit right and you want to give yourself peace of mind before signing up for an account, filling in an application form or providing personal information anywhere online.
“At Lulalend, we follow regulatory guidelines for how data is acquired and stored. We go above and beyond those guidelines because our client’s privacy is important to us. No data is shared with anyone without their consent”, says Neil. We also partner with Yodlee, a leading data aggregation platform for digital financial services. This advanced technology makes it easy for clients to upload documents, knowing that their information is protected. With the advanced technology utilised on Lulalend’s site, you can be certain that strict measures are taken to protect your data and provide you with a safe service that can help your business grow.
If you would like to find out how Lulalend can assist your business with funding, visit our website or find out what our clients say by downloading our latest case study with Cape Coffee Beans