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Protecting Your Privacy And Your Online Business

Working at home and starting a home-based internet business is the dream of many men and women from all walks of life. Across America and around the world countless numbers of these people are turning their dream into a reality. There are certain challenges however that often come back to haunt the would be e-entrepreneur that they never gave much thought to at the beginning of their venture. One of those is one of the most important potential problems of today and the future. That is the issue of identity theft. When you are operating an online business, you spend many hours on your computer doing the things necessary to build your business. Quite frequently this requires you to do business with and/or contract with other companies for various reasons. This can sometimes open you up to exposing yourself to privacy issues. At the end of this article, I will reveal to you probably the best step you can take to securing your identity. An identity thief takes your personal information and uses it without your knowledge. The thief may run up debts or even commit crimes in your name. These 10 tips can help you lower your risk of becoming a victim.

1. Protect your Social Security Number Don’t carry your Social Security Card in your wallet. If a company you do business with wants to use your SS# as your account number or id number, ask them to use another number. Protecting your Social Security number is the key to controlling identity theft.

2. Don’t let your identity get trashed Own a paper/document shredder as part of your business. Shred or tear up papers with your personal information on them before you throw them away. Shred credit card offers and other mail you receive that might have your personal private information on them.

3. Use caution when clicking around the Internet Before entering credit card or other personal information on any web site(especially if you are new to it), read their privacy policy. See what your opportunities are to opt out of sharing your information. IF there is no privacy policy posted, BEWARE!. Do business somewhere else. When you do enter personal information, enter it on secure Web pages with “https” in the address bar and a padlock symbol at the bottom of your browser. These signs indicated protection from hackers.

4. Don’t fall for “Phishing”! Scam artists disguise themselves as legitimate businesses that you do business with like your bank, stores, eBay, Paypal, government agencies and such. Tactics include phone calls, emails, regular mail, and others asking you to verify personal information like account numbers and passwords. Don’t respond unless you initiated the contact. Legit companies do not ask for this sort of information in these ways.

5. Control your personal financial information Limit where you can, the sharing of your information between companies and/or their affiliates.

6. Opt-out of pre-approved credit card offers Many pre-approved credit card offers are simply ploys to make your information an easy target to gather.

7. Check your bills and statements Open these items when you receive them in the mail. Reconcile right away and look carefully for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals. If you don’t receive these in the mail, call to find out why in case anyone has changed your contact information.

8. Protect your computer Computer viruses and spyware can compromise your privacy. Use the appropriate security software. Make your passwords difficult for others to guess. Don’t click on links in spam email.

9. Check your credit report This is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Monitor your credit history. You can get a FREE credit report every year from each of the three national credit bureaus.


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