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How to Protect Yourself Online

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Many of us depend on the Internet to manage our business, finances, and personal lives. However if you don’t adequately protect yourself online, your information can get in the wrong hands and you can find yourself a victim of malicious attacks. Another major bug recently hit computer systems (Shellshock), a reminder for how important it is to make sure your business is safe.

When you use any website, including Guru.com, you face inherent risks. However, you can protect your online security by taking the following precautions.

Guru.com Security Precautions

  1. Send and receive payments only through Guru.com. All transactions are conducted in a SSL session, protecting your private information from being disclosed to third parties and hackers.
  2. Use SafePay for the ultimate payment protection. If you use invoicing or try to pay off-site, we cannot help you in the event of a dispute.
  3. Have an agreement in place for each job. This gives you a better chance of getting what you deserve in the case of a dispute.
  4. Don’t send your W-9 info directly to your employer. We collect and keep your W-9 information for you. If your employer needs to file taxes on the work they’ve had done we offer a free 1099 service. This helps us keep your information private and safe.
  5. Limit the sensitive information you share. Whether you’re an employer or a freelancer, keep sensitive information out of your job posting or profile. A company name or URL can lead to someone tracking down your email address or phone number. Employers, you can control the amount of exposure your job posting gets. Freelancers, you can hide your profile to keep others from being able to see it.

View our Privacy Policy to read more about how we protect your information on Guru.com.

 General Online Security Precautions

  1. Never open attachments or emails from unknown sources. Be vigilant about what links you click in an email, especially when they come from companies. Also, don’t click on odd messages with links.
  2. Never divulge your online banking credentials. There is no scenario in which you would want to provide your credentials to another party (including User ID, password, or token code).
  3. Do not access your banking sites from links embedded in emails. Anyone can pretend to be affiliated with a bank and create a template to gain access to your money. Check the “From” address in the email and, unless it’s from a legitimate company email address, delete it.
  4. Use different passwords for every account. When there is a large-scale password breech, as we saw with LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s clear why having one password is the worst thing you can do. If the password and email address that you use for one account gets in the hands of the wrong person, they can start trying it on other sites and services. Use different passwords on different sites.
  5. Make sure your passwords are strong. Use a mix of upper- and lowercase letters and numbers. You should also change your most important passwords at least once every six months. You can use password-manager software so you don’t have to memorize them all.
  6. Protect your computer and browser. Make sure if you are using a Windows PC you are using an up-to-date anti-virus or spyware program. PC and Mac users should also make sure the operating system is up-to-date with the latest security patches.
  7. Secure your wireless connection. Make sure you’ve protected your home wireless network with a password and you’ve changed the default SSID (your network’s name) to something unique. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks be safe about what information you are sending over it.


  1. I don’t really see why hiding my email address should be so important. If they spam me, I’ll just throw them into the “spam” folder, and never see them, again.

    As for securing the Wifi, I was surprised that you didn’t mention buying of a WPA2 Security Key or simply disabling your SSID broadcast (which is what I do, because it’s free).

    • Ummm… Anthony. You can often track people down via their email if you know what you’re doing. That’s why, generally speaking, you are not supposed to leave your phone number, email address or any other identifying details open to the public. I’ve even traced others the same way. I haven’t done so for illegal purposes, but a lot of people do.

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