3 Tips for Safely Exchanging Information with Financial Institutions
In recent decades, the financial sector has profited greatly from technology that improves both its efficiency and the service provided to its clients. The industry is now faced with blockchain, a recent technology for sharing. It’s a safe and tamperproof form of digital transaction register which reduces costs, improves quality and speed of service which is likely to have a major impact on the financial services industry.
In the past, the majority of financial transactions had to be carried out in person. When it came time to apply for a personal loan or to apply for or renew a mortgage, various forms had to be filled out. The documents requested had to be collected and a visit to a bank had to be arranged to meet a clerk who would determine if we were eligible for a loan. Today, it’s a completely different scenario. The sector is deregulated and there are a number of new lender types. In addition, you can now apply for a loan or invest in the comfort of your home using a computer with an Internet connection. Online applications are practical and simple, but there is still a security risk – it isn’t always easy to exchange documents containing confidential information with a financial institution. These institutions have several technological tools for downloading or receiving documents in a safe way, but when the time comes to return the documents, things can get complicated.
1. Avoid using e-mail
E-mail wasn’t designed taking security, governance and privacy standards into account. This method of communication, although extremely common, is one of the least secure. E-mail has today become the number one target for hacking and identity theft. Emails themselves are stored in various locations, which increases the risk of data breaches exponentially. These locations are the sender’s and the financial institution’s computers as well as the Internet service provider’s server. Hackers can access these sites and intercept e-mails and the data they contain with alarming ease. In addition, if there is an error in the recipient’s address, confidential information will not be received by the right person, thus causing the risk of e-mails falling into the wrong hands.
2. Choose Fax over e-mail
Fax is still one of the easiest and most economical ways to exchange confidential information. When a document is sent by fax, it is converted into binary code (0 and 1 digits) before being sent via the telephone network and reconstructed at the other end of the line. Hacking the network would require direct manual access to the telephone line, and even if a file were intercepted, it would only be in the form of sound and would therefore be virtually impossible to interpret or read. Contact your financial institution to advise them when you send documents by fax so that they are ready to receive them. Financial institutions with a fax over IP (FoIP) server need not worry about waiting for it, because they receive it directly on a server or in their messaging.
3. Watch out for new technologies
When it comes to file storage and transmission, a litany of solutions emerge regularly on the market. Two types of services are mainly offered to users. First, there are online storage services like Dropbox which can be used to maintain a backup of files online. Documents are encrypted when being downloaded and uploaded, but it’s Dropbox – and not the user – that has the encryption and decryption keys for user files. This type of solution can also be used to send an e-mail to a recipient in order to give him access to documents stored on line. The solution has no tools for ensuring the validity of the recipient’s e-mail. If the wrong e-mail is entered, the wrong recipient will have access to your confidential information. In addition, if the documents are not deleted from the Dropbox account, they remain there indefinitely.
The second type of solution enables the sending of an e-mail with a link or a code allowing the recipient to download the file directly from his computer or from a staging server without being required to open an account. Once again, the documents are encrypted on downloading and uploading, but there is no validation of the recipient’s address.
If you decide to use one of these new types of technology, make sure that the solution you choose has the following attributes:
• The recipient doesn’t need to download any software or have an account to access documents
• 2-factor authentication to ensure the recipient’s identity
• Encryption of data when downloading and uploading
• Short-lived storage: Files are automatically erased after the exchange
XM SendSecure presents a third option. The solution is a collaborative and secure file exchange platform at the cutting edge of technology that fully meets and even exceeds these criteria at the level of security, ease-of-use, and traceability.
Other proven solutions
If you usually visit your financial institution in order to deliver your confidential documents by hand, then by all means, continue to do so. However, be sure to give them directly to your contact in order to avoid intermediaries and have the documents go astray. Mail is another safe, effective and inexpensive solution. However, registered mail is preferred in this case in order to be able to track down the signer if or when your envelope gets lost.
The secure exchange of confidential information with your financial institution can help you avoid the theft of your identity. This type of theft has serious consequences, and it can take years to undo the damage. Be sure to remain diligent in choosing an effective and secure solution.
Looking for a way to safely exchange information with your financial institution? Speak with an expert today to find out how you can protect your sensitive information and avoid identity theft.