If you are like me, you probably do a lot of your business online. I have accounts with vendors, banks -and of course sites like eBay, PayPal and Amazon. Protecting your accounts from seizure or hacking is vital to your business. Here are my tips for protecting your accounts.
- This is probably the most important one. Make sure you use a strong password for all of your accounts and a DIFFERENT password for all of your accounts. If a hacker gets into your computer and breaks a password, they can look at your email and see which sites (including banks & credit cards) you do business with. If you are using the same password for all -or several, of your accounts then the hacker could have access to everything by just trying them out.
- Passwords – Never use part of a word – Always use random characters – Example Billygoat%% (Bad) JKop22$$ (better)
- On eBay and Amazon use a Seller ID that is different than your business name. This way your suppliers and competitors do not know what you are selling and what your pricing is. (Note – both eBay and Amazon allow you to use a different seller ID than the business name you have registered and your seller ID does not have to be a DBA or registered business name). For example, if your registered business name with eBay and/or Amazon, your business name may be Susan Smith, LLC, but your display username could br Oakdale Sales, Sue”s Jewelry or any thing you can make up.
- The same goes for your About me page on eBay and your Seller info page on Amazon. Keep the information general. Do not put your address, city, or any info that could identify your business.
- Avoid logging into sites if you are at a public Wi-Fi location. These sites can be easily spoofed. You think you are logged on with Starbucks but you are actually logged into some guy’s laptop sitting in the front of the store, or a car in the parking lot, and he is capturing all your keystrokes.
- Keep your computer’s operating system and security software up-to-date.
- Although extensively tested prior to sale, software can have vulnerabilities that are discovered only after the software has been used in “real-world” situations. Developer-issued software updates will correct these vulnerabilities. Left uncorrected, they could allow the computer to be infected with malicious software that may steal information from the user.
- Be careful of great deals delivered to you via unsolicited email, pop-up boxes or advertisements on websites and never click on any links in those ads or emails. This makes you vulnerable to Phishing attacks.
- Clicking on a link in emails, or popups, could infect your computer with malware. Malware can capture keystrokes, steal information stored on your computer, or while you use the internet. This, of course, could lead to identity theft or account takeover. If you’re truly interested in a deal, independently visit the company’s website and log on, rather than logging on through the email.
- One last thing. If you get email from PayPal, Etsy,eBay or Amazon, etc that is not addressed to your name, it is a fake. All of these sites will only email you using your personal name, business name or username.
- Install a firewall and virus checker/protection system. se it to do a complete scan of your computer month;y
So follow these tips and you can prevent identity theft and account takeover and keep your business safe.
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