How to Protect Your Contact Information from Loan Sharks

How to Protect Your Contact Information from Loan Sharks

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Since I started reviewing online lenders, I have filled out 30+ online business loan applications to understand the alternative lending market. The applications include direct lenders as well as loan brokers. An unintended consequence is that I am getting 10+ cold calls from loan brokers and alternative lenders on a daily basis. I don’t know how they get my phone number exactly, but I suspect someone sold my contact information as leads to lenders/brokers.

In the beginning, there’s novelty. I would answer the phone calls and try to pry more information from the “fast and easy” funding people. But after a while, it just became annoying. I stopped picking up my phone unless it’s someone from my contact list. I missed a few important phone calls from that. In retrospect, if I had known what I know, I would have taken the following steps to protect my contact information so that I don’t get spammed all the time.

  1. Get a phone number through one of the virtual phone systems such as MightyCall. This will become the number you use to register your company, and the number you use to apply all the business financing products.
  2. Get a separate email for all the spams you are going to get once you fill out a loan application.
  3. I don’t think you need a separate mailing address. But throw away all the snail mails that include a fake check or a pre-approved $50K business line of credit. These are mostly loan sharks who charge insane amount of fees no matter how much they sound like they are here to help your business.
  4. Now, don’t use your primary contact information on any corporate registration documents, yellow pages, phone directory, your website, loan applications or final loan documents. Your information will be spread around through many different ways. Some lenders/brokers might sell your information. Some of the information is available through secretary of state or business credit bureau. The best way to protect your private contact information is not to give it away in the first place.
  5. You might still want to check your messages on the VoIP phone number and emails regularly but you don’t have to worry about being harassed like me.

I have had enough. I am getting a new phone number. Be ultra protective of your primary contact information so you can get into contact with people who are important to you while avoiding spammy phone calls which are mostly counter productive.

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About the Author — Yun-Fang is a small business advisor who has lived in the SF bay area for 15 years. She is a software engineer and has worked at Yahoo!, Facebook and Soldsie prior to becoming an advisor for Nav. She is passionate about using technology to connect people and to make the world a level playing field.

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