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••• The International Writers Magazine - 24 Years on-line - Lifestyle Futures

Financial and Cybersecurity Risks for Remote Workers
• Indiana Lee

Remote work has seen a significant rise in popularity over the last few years. For writers, remote work isn’t really anything new. However, the shift in popularity has created several pros and cons to working from home.

Image Source: Unsplash


Some of the most helpful additions to remote work include better networking opportunities, easier connections with platforms like Slack and Zoom, and greater flexibility since more people are working from home than ever.

Some of the “cons” to consider include things like cybersecurity risks and financial concerns. As a remote author, you might be involved in things like webinars, remote tutoring sessions, or you might even try to monetize your blog or video tutorials. Those are all great ways to make money, build your network, and grow your business. But, it’s essential to keep yourself and your finances safe in the process.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the different types of risks associated with remote writers and how they can be combated.

Security Risks

One of the best things you can do as a remote writer is to protect yourself from potential cybersecurity risks. That involves preparing yourself and your digital devices before you start working or connecting with other people each day. Some of the best ways to prevent would-be hackers from invading your network include:

  1. Creating strong passwords;
  2. Never using public Wi-Fi;
  3. Using password-protected cloud services;
  4. Using secure servers;
  5. Keeping your anti-virus software updated.

It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with some “best practices” when it comes to keeping yourself safe online. While networking and connecting with other authors is a great way to grow your business and become a more notable name, you should never give out personal information or allow access to your files.

Finally, make sure you’re keeping your camera secure, too. With the rise in video conferencing, cybercriminals have started “camera hacking” as a way to get sensitive information from individuals and businesses alike. By hacking into your computer’s webcam, they can see everything you’re doing and potentially listen in on important conversations. You can prevent this by checking out the security settings on your camera and making sure your Wi-Fi network is secure.

Financial Scams

Financial scams are nothing new. Even before the popularity of the Internet, criminals, and scammers were trying to think of creative ways to con people out of their hard-earned money. Unfortunately, technology has often made that easier.

You might think financial scams would be obvious and easy to avoid. But, today’s cybercriminals are more sophisticated and willing to put together elaborate plans to make sure their schemes work. When you work from home, it’s even easier to become a victim.

For example, think of how often you use your credit card online to make purchases. The most important thing is to only give out your financial information to websites and businesses you trust. If you’re making purchases or giving your information to unsecured sites, your credit card number (and even your bank information) could easily get into the wrong hands.

It’s also easier than you might think to fall victim to some common credit card scams, including:

  1. Phishing scams;
  2. Threatening scams;
  3. Catphishing;
  4. Smishing (SMS Phishing) scams.

While these common crimes might have silly names, there’s nothing funny about a criminal getting ahold of your financial information. Unfortunately, many of these scams can seem real and legitimate. You might get an email that claims to be from your bank, asking for your information. Or, you might see a text message that suggests it’s from your credit card company and they need you to update your information — an example of “smishing”.

Cybercriminals will go to great lengths to use imagery and language often associated with financial institutions. No one is immune to their schemes, but you should always be on your toes. If you receive a text message, call, or email that appears to be from your bank or credit card company (or Paypal), make sure you don’t offer any information, and contact the company yourself to confirm it was them.

Freelance Writing Scams

Unfortunately, nowadays, it seems as though scammers have honed in on different industries thanks to the rise in remote work. Not only do you have to be aware of phishing scams and people trying to get your money using more “traditional” hacking methods, but you have to be aware of money-making schemes that are specifically targeted toward writers.

It might sound nice, at first. After all, there are over 4,500 freelance writers in the U.S., all competing in the gig economy to attract more clients and build their businesses. If someone approaches you online with a surefire way to make money, it’s easy to fall into temptation.

However, there are rarely any legitimate “get rich quick” ideas.

As a writer, it’s common to post your availability on job boards, on networking sites like LinkedIn, and even on social media platforms. However, in doing so, you could be putting a target on your back for scammers. If an individual or company contacts you about making money from home, make sure you do your research to determine their legitimacy, especially if you’re not sure how they found you. You can often spot a freelance writing scam if the person/company:

  1. Asks you to purchase equipment;
  2. Wants you to wire them money;
  3. Uses informal platforms for interviews (like Google Hangouts).

Only work with organizations and companies you know are legitimate, and keep your financial information private. Sometimes, if you can’t find any information about a company, it’s best to trust your gut. If something is telling you their approach is “off,” it’s okay to say no or stop working with them just because you don’t want to.

You could end up saving yourself a lot of time and stress. For many, being a remote writer can feel like a dream come true. The benefits certainly outweigh the risks. But, make sure you’re doing your part to protect yourself and your finances by putting cybersecurity protections in place, and understanding how to navigate common digital scams.    
 Indiana Lee © Indiana Lee 1.26.23

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