When adding to your social media profile, it’s normal to post photos and share thoughts with your online friends.
Sometimes student users like to show off their latest holiday adventure, others love to post about the latest sale purchases or recent bargains for all to see.
But have you ever wondered about other people viewing your profile?
For instance, if your profile is not so hot on privacy mode, there’s a chance that anyone can access your latest posts.
If someone has added you and you don’t recognise their name (even if they attend the same university), should you accept or just ignore the request?
Student loan stalkers
Among the hundreds of other potential social media stalkers, student loan stalkers are becoming a threat in the international student community.
As The Guardian recently explained, “Student Loans Company applicants should expect to have their Facebook posts and social media activity vetted as part of the approval process, despite a senior MP condemning such surveillance as ‘sinister, KGB knock-on-the-door’ tactics.”
This is why you should be careful about your privacy settings on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you leave these pages open to the public eye, there’s a high chance they’ll be researched and scrutinised.
For instance, if a student who’s requesting a large maintenance loan to cover the cost of education posts photos that depict a luxury, lavish lifestyle, a student loans company representative has the opportunity to witness that and categorise the student as undeserving of a loan.
But this may not be the reality. The student may be having a tough time with their budget and seek to portray a different lifestyle to their friends on social media.
What can I do to prevent this?
The first thing you should do if you’re applying for a student loan is set your social media profiles to private.
By limiting the access, you’re free to post anything you want without the worry of someone else misinterpreting it.
Secondly, if you’re worried about being watched by student loans companies even after you’ve made your profile private, try not to post any images or statuses that reflect your finances or personal information.
For instance, if the student loan company has paid you a different sum to someone else on your course, this issue should be addressed with the company themselves rather than venting through angry posts on Facebook or Twitter.
If you’ve just received your student loan but have used it to splash out on clothes and gadgets, try not to mention this in your post as it may be met with unwanted judgement or scrutiny.
You should always make sure your chosen student loan company is legitimate and acts in a professional manner.
— Federal Student Aid (@FAFSA) November 15, 2018
If you’ve ever felt like a victim of student loan stalking, there’s always the chance to speak up.
Regardless of the posts you may have displayed or the activity that warranted persecution, if they’ve approached you in an unprofessional manner, it deserves to be analysed by your university or local education authorities.