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Protecting your personal information online

Joanna Heep

May 10, 2021

Every day, we share vast amounts of personal data and information online. We share photos from a Bora Bora vacation on Facebook. You might register your business with a home address. It all adds up to a massive amount of personal information accessible to anyone with a computer.

It may feel like no one has privacy in a digital world, where oversharing is the norm. You can take several steps to protect your personal information - steps that go beyond just adjusting your social media privacy settings.

To keep confidential information private, it helps to protect your personal details everywhere they may be. We all realize not to publish our social security number, but other details can also jeopardize your privacy.

Virtual mailboxes and mail privacy 

Beyond your email address, there’s a much more important address you may want to keep private: where you live. You may want to limit the amount of personal information tied to your home address or want to keep your home address completely private. Either way, using a virtual mailing address instead of your home address protects your personal information.

While you could just rent a P.O. Box at the post office, that would involve inconvenient trips to what might be an empty mailbox. Instead, you could consider a virtual mailbox. 

A virtual mailbox can keep your residential address off important documents such as LLC paperwork, business cards, and more. With a virtual mailbox, you’ll choose an address for your mail to be sent to. 

Your mail is scanned and uploaded to a cloud-based service for you to access from anywhere. We recommend using a virtual address for any mail except what your friends and family send you. This gives you the ultimate address privacy protection. 

Create secondary emails 

Having more than one email address can also secure your personal information. Distinct email accounts provide added security and keep sensitive information limited. They will also help you organize separate areas of your life and avoid clogging up your inbox.

Create an email address specifically for online shopping. This keeps your primary email address from making it to online public forums. Don't include your first or last name in this address, so you are not identifiable. 

You can do this for various areas of your life: personal, work, online shopping, or online accounts on websites. These sites are all places you give information to that are not only likely to spam you - they collect your information. 

You can even use one email address to send emails and one for social networks, to keep social networks from knowing what people you send emails to by cross-referencing your friends’ social media profiles with you.  

Business address registration without an office 

When starting a business, you’ll need an address to list on your registration paperwork. If you don’t need an office building, you may not have an office address to list. Many business owners list their residential address on paperwork.

We don’t recommend this practice because your registered business address becomes public information. This makes it part of marketing databases and listed in registration documents. Having a virtual address will create a buffer between your personal and professional lives without having to rent an office or make trips to a P.O. Box.

Keep where you live secret

If you own your home, it’s likely that your information is readily available online thanks to the public tax office in your area. To get that information disassociated from your name, you need to file your homeownership under a business, such as an LLC, or a private trust. Then you can use a virtual mailbox as the registered address for the LLC. 

Hide your phone number online

Our phones are a direct link to our lives, so you may want to protect your phone number from marketing calls or directory listings. We recommend setting up a phone number through Google Voice and have it directed to your personal phone or an email address. You can connect your Google Voice account to one of your alias email accounts. This way, you never have to pass out your personal phone number to anyone that you don’t want to.

Interested in getting a mailing address that can keep your personal information safe? Click here

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