Security tips for your home office - Liveops, Inc.
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Security tips for your home office

Protect yourself and your home office from threats that could jeopardize your home business and your financial security.

We followed a series of webinars hosted by the Federal Trade Commission and its partners, and talked with our in-house IT expert Colin Isca to compile these helpful tips for keeping your home office secure.

Identity theft prevention

Victims of identity theft usually need to do a significant amount of work themselves to recover. Filing a report with the FTC, contacting individual companies where the fraud occurred, closing accounts, removing bogus charges and correcting your credit card report can be time-consuming, especially when you are running a home business.

Be alert:

  • Know the warning signs of identity theft.
  • Review your bank and credit statements for unexpected withdrawals or charges.

What you can do:

  • Learn how to keep your information secure with these identity theft prevention tips from the FTC.
  • If you suspect you have been the victim of identity theft, visit identitytheft.gov. This site allows you to report the theft and help you create and implement a recovery plan.
  • If you lose your social security card, license, credit card or bank information, follow the steps at identity.gov to protect yourself.

Avoid tax scams

Every year thousands of people fall victim to tax scams. One of the most common scams is phishing, in which someone impersonates the IRS or other tax-related authority and simply asks for the information they want.

Be alert:

  • The IRS does not send emails asking for personal or payroll information or saying that you have to click on or download files to get your refund.
  • The IRS does not call to demand payment by a specific means or request credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Many phishing scams impersonate a business or person you know. Be alert to unusual requests for personal information even if the email appears to be from someone you know.

What you can do:

  • If you receive a suspicious email or phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS report it here.
  • Do not click on links or download files from suspicious emails. These can contain malware, spyware or damaging programs.
  • If someone requests tax-related or other personal information, take a few minutes to confirm that they are who they claim to be by contacting them via another means, such as calling them.
  • Learn more about common tax scams.

Home computer security

When you work from home, your computer is typically the way you connect to the outside world. It might be tempting to put off security updates or use your pet’s name as a password, but for a telecommuter getting a computer virus is like having your car break down—you can’t get to work.

Be alert:

  • Attachments, banners, advertisements and pop-ups in emails or on the web can contain spyware, malware, etc.
  • Malicious websites can look a lot like a legitimate business site.
  • Removable devices, such as thumb drives, can make be easily lost or stolen.

What you can do:

  • Don’t open attachments or click on banners or links in emails from people you do not know and only download files from sources you trust.
  • Install all security updates promptly.
  • Use anti-virus and anti-spyware programs at all times and perform periodic scans.
  • Create strong passwords that do not include information people could easily guess such as your favorite sports team, home address, middle name, etc.
  • Don’t copy sensitive data to removable devices.
  • Shut down your computer at the end of each day.

Physical security in your home office

Working from a home office can feel more secure than a cubicle, but it is still important to secure your work space. It might be hard to imagine, but a friend or family member could look through your office or steal information.

Be alert:

  • Take notice if things seem out of place or if important information is missing from your workspace.
  • If someone is in your office without a reason, ask questions and take a few minutes to make sure sensitive information is still securely stored.

What you can do:

  • Make your home office a dedicated work space to minimize reasons for anyone else to be around your desk and files.
  • Keep sensitive information, including passwords, company and client information locked up.
  • Before leaving your desk, take a minute to make sure no sensitive information is left out even if you only expect to be gone briefly.
  • If you take credit card information, don’t repeat the numbers out loud. Ask the caller to repeat the card number if you need to confirm it.
Lisa Lozeau

Lisa Lozeau

Lisa Lozeau is a work-at-home mom with two young sons. As a marketing writer for Liveops, she specializes in communicating to agents and sharing their stories. She's passionate about flexible work—she wants other moms to know that there is work for parents who want a better work-life balance than a traditional 9-5 job provides.