Five Tips to Keeping Yourself Safe When Working Online
In today’s online world, it can be hard to tell what’s a scam, and what’s a legitimate business opportunity. When the internet first boomed, warnings about meeting and working with people online ran rampant. Now, meeting and working with people virtually is a fairly common to-do in the world. However, there are still scammers, and worse out there. So when working online, you want to make sure you take precautions to keep your wallet and yourself safe.
1. Keep Personal Information Personal
In other words, don’t give out your age, marital status, and birthday. Most importantly, seriously, pay attention here, do not give out your social security number. If a potential freelance client pushes on this, it’s best to walk away. Better to be safe than sorry. And while we’re on the subject, if you plan on freelancing, to take an extra safety measure, considering getting a P.O. Box for a mailing address, to keep your location private as well.
2. Research the Company or Client
It’s the internet. Which means you still want to make sure that whoever you’re going to work with is reliable and reputable. While you don’t want to do the job and not get paid, more importantly you don’t want to pick up a job and find yourself being hacked or worse. So, you need to do your homework. Look for a reputable websites and third party reviews. If there’s nothing but bare bones or bad reviews, it could be a sign it’s time to walk away.
3. Trust Your Instincts
Above all else, trust yourself. If you feel something is off, chances are, it probably is. Everyone is looking for that side hustle. Everyone needs to make that extra cash. But if you feel that something is wrong, walk away. There are plenty of legitimate remote jobs. When it comes to dealing with people on the internet, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
4. Be Careful If They Ask to Meet in Person
If you’re doing online freelance work, there’s almost no reason to have to go in to a physical place to interview. Most places may require an online portfolio, or if it’s long term work, maybe they want to do a phone call or video chat. But if you’re being asked to go in for a one time freelance gig, make sure the company is legitimate. Take precautions–let people know where you’re going. Take pictures of the building when you arrive and make sure someone knows when your interview is, where it takes place, and when you should be done. Make sure your potential employer knows others have this information as well. In a casual way. Don’t be weird.
5. Never Give Them Money
If you’re hired to do work, you should be getting paid, not the other way around. If someone says you need to pay them in order to get work, that’s a serious red flag. It’s like when Prince So-and-So emails you from a foreign country and says he’ll give you a million dollars, but you need to send him ten thousand so he can get it to you first. It’s a sure-fire scam. You are hired to provide a service, they pay you. If they ask you for money, move on and look for something that isn’t a scam.
While you might be desperate from some extra cash, especially around the holidays, your safety matters. Take the steps to ensure your online job is both legitimate and safe.