Think for a second about what you share online. Anything? If you’ve ever filled out a job application, sent an email, or paid a bill online you’re at risk for potential danger.
Protect yourself. Here are the ways you can.
In the U. S., Get an EIN
I just got mine today. I’m excited about it. It feels like I’m taking the next step to moving my business forward.
This Employer Identification Number can be used in place of your Social Security Number. Using it instead can give you an additional layer of security because you’ll never give out your SSN ever again.
Get yours by filling out the IRS form and filing it. Write it down right after. My page didn’t close, but Gina says (In Lesson 24: 4 Ways to Protect Yourself Online) it can. So write it down.
If you don’t want to get one, only give out your SSN via the phone. Never send it out in an email.
Google Phone Number
I talked a lot about the wonders of Google Voice on Google Day. This phone number is tied to your cell phone via the Internet. Voicemails are sent to your email inbox where they are transcribed.
Get yours now and never give out your personal cell phone number again.
Get a P. O. Box
The bootstrapper in me will get one when the time is right. I have a goal to get one in December. Don’t give out your home address. I’m using my closest post office address until I can afford my own Post Office Box.
You’ll notice December coincides with end-of-year stuff like the 1099s independent contractors receive. Ideally, I want to have mine before the end of year tax season.
I talked a lot about getting your business its own email. In Lesson 7, I mention the importance of having an email to use for business purposes exclusively. Although unlikely, if the email were to get stolen, you could just start another. Make sure to keep a backup list of your clients and their files on your email inbox.
Take these extra precautions to add a layer of safety to your business. Think about getting a separate EIN number to use as your SSN. This number provides you with a layer of protection against would-be identity thieves. Get a telephone number through Google Voice. The great thing about this service is that you can read a transcript of any voicemails you’ve received in your Gmail Inbox. Lastly, start up a separate email address. Gmail integrates seamlessly into other Google services.
Protect yourself and your family by not leaving areas vulnerable for access. Gina’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success, talks about the dangers of putting sensitive information out there. That said, sometimes it’s unavoidable.