Protecting Yourself from Viruses and Other Unfortunate Events While Working from Home
Many people make the decision to work from home rather than go to a workplace every single day, and it may sound very relaxing, never having to leave home. However, many risks come with working online from home, including network security and even the security of your identity.
The more time you spend online, the more likely it is that you will come across someone looking to steal from you or infect your computer with viruses. That is why if you work from home it is very important that you take precautions to prevent these unfortunate events from happening actively.
First of all, never give your information to someone you aren’t sure of. If they are an employer, ask them for professional credentials before agreeing to work with them. Ask them if they have a business website or anything of the like. If they start acting suspicious or defensive, then they may be trying to scam you. If this is the case, do not accuse them of being a scammer.
All you should do is politely decline the job. This way they do not get upset. If you are sure they may be scamming people, then don’t be afraid to report them on whatever website you found them on. It is your duty to protect others who work from home as well as yourself. You have to be careful with your information. Even giving out your email to the wrong person can be dangerous.
Remember that it isn’t hard to find information about someone online, so even if someone knows only your name, they can probably find all sorts of information about you. You should also use passwords and update them regularly. Make sure they are strong, too. Ideally, a strong password includes numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols. Make it something easy for you to remember and difficult for someone else to guess, and you’ll be golden.
You should also make sure that every website you visit is secure, especially if it asks you to give it personal information such as your email, name, or address. Check the URL at the top of your browser. If it says HTTP, then the connection is not secure. If there is a padlock and it says https, then the connecting is likely safe. Be careful anyway though, because even https sites can trick you.
Some scams don’t come in the form of invisible viruses. Some are sales pitches that might sound good at first. When working online, most people are looking to keep their income steady. But even if it sounds amazing, don’t trust “Make money fast!” schemes that you see online. Don’t give them your information or your money unless you are 100% sure it is for real. There is no real “pay money to earn money” online jobs out there, so if they ask for a beginning payment, don’t do it.
Another important precaution to take is installing some kind of anti-virus on your computer. This will help ensure your safety and the safety of your identity. You also need to keep it up to date so that it can do its job properly and keep the viruses out. Many hackers use viruses to obtain your identity, and they use many tricks to get these viruses onto your machine.
Ways You Can Get Viruses
There are many risky activities which many people do to get viruses. Being aware of them is the best way to prevent getting viruses. While working from home, a new employer may ask to communicate through emails. Keep in mind that many viruses come from an infected email attachment, so opening an email attachment from someone you do not know is always risky.
Ask for verification of their business first to make sure they are authentic. Another way to get a virus is by clicking a suspicious link. There are ways that you can check a URL or link to make sure that it goes where it says it should go. You should also never download anything from an unknown source. When working from home, you may need certain types of software in order to do your job properly.
Just make sure that when you download any software that it is coming from a legit source. Pirating may be cheaper, but there are a lot of costs that could come with it. Even making one mistake could be catastrophic for you. You should get yourself a virus scanner so that you will know when you have a virus and you can act accordingly. You should also never insert a USB drive into your computer without knowing exactly what is on it first.
Most virus scanners will ask you if you want the drive scanned before opening it. Unless it is your personal drive, say yes. Even if it is from a coworker or your boss, do not assume that everything on it is safe. Finally, you should always allow your OS to update. A lot of updates involve security updates that help protect your computer from malware and viruses. All of these situations can be prevented as long as you have knowledge of them and take the necessary precautions to prevent them.
About Stolen Identities
If you work online at home, you need to be on a constant lookout for signs that your identity has been stolen, or that someone has information of yours that they should not have. One obvious sign is receiving bills or charges for things you did not purchase. When someone steals your identity, they are most often looking to steal your money. Another thing you can look for are errors on your credit report.
Errors would include accounts you did not create or other incorrect information. You should also be worried if you see a drop in your credit score. If there is no reason for it to drop, then someone has almost certainly stolen the information to use for themselves. All of these things are rather scary, but you can prevent them and protect yourself.
It is best to prevent someone stealing your identity before it happens because it is very hard to catch a cyber thief. Never give your information to anyone or any website that you do not trust and update your passwords regularly. You also need to monitor your bank accounts. This doesn’t mean you have to stare at them all day, but you should check on them regularly just to make sure your balance is in place.
If there are any charges you don’t remember, then you need to look at your transaction history and investigate it. If the charge is for something you bought, you’re fine, but if it isn’t, you should freeze your account immediately. After that it could be a good idea to call people you know might have the account information and ask if they used it. If they didn’t then you need to file a report. If you be cautious, then you will most likely be fine. However, if the worst does happen, there are things you can do to save yourself possibly.
What to do if Your Identity is Stolen
If the unthinkable happens and someone gets into your accounts, there are things you need to do immediately in order to preserve what you can. First of all, you need to contact your bank and lock your accounts. This way the person or people who have the information cannot use your money. You then need to file a report with whichever bureau deals with stolen identities in your country.
This is only necessary if you are sure your identity has been stolen, and not if only one of your accounts is compromised. No matter what, you need to file a police report. It is unlikely that they will catch whoever stole your information, but you need to do it just in case. You should also put a fraud alert on all of your credit reports. This will inform any institution that looks at your credit report that the information may be compromised for the next 90 days.
Obviously, since your old accounts have been compromised, you will need to open new accounts once you have everything settled. You may even want to change banks, but that is up to you. You should also figure out where you went wrong, where the thief got into your accounts at. Then take more precautions in order to keep this from happening ever again.
In summary, the internet can be a dangerous place, and if you make your livelihood there, you need to be careful. You should do your best to stick to these precautions, use an anti-virus and virus scanner, don’t click strange links, don’t download suspicious files, and keep your passwords and other information a secret. Your identity is precious, and you will be in big trouble if someone else gets hold of it.