Especially in times like 2020, when we feel like we are playing apocalypse bingo, working online seems like the safest option for most people. And, while the ‘gig economy’ and working remotely isn’t for everyone, those who can manage will see many benefits in multiple areas of their life.
But, there are risks. Biological bugs are exchanged for digital ones, and the same people who want to discriminate, harass, and steal have their online counterparts who wish to do the same.
Thankfully, it is much easier to solve these issues with online work because there are no physical threats. So, you need to learn how not to fall into traps.
There is a technical side, where you will use companies like Le VPN and their products to protect your devices. Then, there is a human side, where you will need to be disciplined and self-conscious, so as not to be tricked by scammers.
Risks when Working Online
Although some risks stem from simply being online, these are not specific to your work time.
Unlike your private online existence, your work-life must be slightly exposed, so that you can establish trust with people you are trying to work with. That is why internet security tips for freelancers are somewhat different than those for regular people.
Because of this openness, some risks are specific to remote work.
Primarily, there are ‘simple’ identity thieves. They will post a regular call for work or project to steal information and sell it forward.
Next, there are ‘cyber mobbers,’ who are not only harmful and borderline criminal employers, but also bad people. They will try to harass you into giving even more private information than it is acceptable, and even ask for you to pay for some things if you want to work with them.
Finally, there is the worst kind of people, ghosters. Fake employers who will ask for work, usually over social media like Facebook or LinkedIn, and once you submit it, they will delete their profile and never return.
Laying the Groundwork
Before you start, you need to make sure you have covered your basics. Issues like password security and VPN masking are essential, and you shouldn’t be doing anything before you set them up.
Ideally, you will want to have your VPN server connected in the same country you are working from. Another option is the country of your origin, as some freelance and remote work platforms require you to be in a specific country for legal reasons.
Even if you are working from mobile, you can use some of the best mobile security apps for the same purpose.
Also, you will want your online business to be removed from your IRL identity. This usually requires cutting down and making private most of your social media accounts, as a preventative measure.
3 Tips for Safely Working Online
Regardless if you work from home for your regular job, or are trying to freelance for a living, following these tips will make you be and feel safe.
As they are generalizations, it will be up to you to decide on what measure you will apply them. Some online jobs, like being an online translator or designer, can be done entirely covertly. But, if you are a bookkeeper or an online juror, you might need to expose some of your identity for legal reasons.
And, don’t forget to ensure public WiFi security if you are working from any place that is not your home.
#1 Use a Middleman
Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, or similar platforms are an excellent example for someone who will stand between a potential scammer and your attempt to make money online.
These platforms will offer some of the best online jobs and are always trying to scrub their offers from unreliable and malicious people.
And, even if you are not using a platform, you might want to employ or create a middleman on LinkedIn to serve as a front and weed out any potential risks.
#2 Talk about Skills
This is mostly for those just starting with home jobs, as it becomes very obvious over time.
While even good employers will share some of their private lives and ask for yours over time because of the mutual attachment, they will not do so at first or even care. Fellow college students and those just starting, often try to promote their background, education, and similar features.
Tell the employer about your skills, what you can do for them. Show them some examples or agree to make a test run first. If you are an online English teacher, give a test class.
You don’t need to give your exact private info to anyone, and those who ask for it specifically are people you don’t want to work with.
#3 Learn about Clients
The same information a client or employers are asking from you should be public for them. Their name, representatives, and people working as top brass in the company should all be visible.
When you know that, you can start by giving your name and references.
But, if you find a company that is asking for a full CV and doesn’t have a name and address for themselves, stay clear from them.
Working from home is, for most people, the future. It is easy and gives you control over your time.
With software provided by companies like Le VPN, you can protect your devices. And, with a few tips, you can protect the rest of your life. After that, all the success you will find is just on you.
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