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Protecting Your Privacy And Your Online Business

Aug 13, 2008
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.

10. Ask Why

Whenever information is requested from you that seems inappropriate for the transaction you are making, ask questions. Ask how the information is going to be used and if it will be shared. Move on if you feel the answers are unsatisfactory.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. It's wise and prudent to take steps to protect yourself when you are an online business owner spending so much time online. A great way to protect your good name and your identity from being stolen is with a fantastic company called Lifelock. They'll even give you a Million Dollar Service Guarantee.

Quite simply, using Lifelock is absolutely the best way to protect yourself from identity theft BEFORE it happens.

If you decide to take this important step toward protecting your identity and good name, here's how you can save a little money on Lifelock's already low service pricing. At the appropriate point when prompted for a "PROMO CODE", enter the promo code LOCKSAFE. By entering "locksafe", you'll receive a 10% service discount from Lifelock that I have negotiated for all my readers.

Get all the details at http://www.Lifelock.com .

Identity theft can happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere. It can happen online or offline. Take the logical steps to protect yourself and rest assured that you have properly protected your reputation and the reputation of your business online and off.
About the Author
Todd Thomas is the President of http://WorkAtHomeForDummies.com !- http://www.workathomefordummies.com and writes business related articles ranging from internet business to network marketing and everything in between. Todd is also a baseball coach and hitting instructor. He owns http://www.HitItHere.net. Contact at support@workathomefordummies.com for info on articles for your website!
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