March 16, 2022 | 7 min read
There’s a bit of hype and emotion when starting a new business, even if it’s a side hustle passion project. Getting started is an exciting moment! But, this usually leads to a hasty and cheap setup using your home address as your business address.
Not recommended! First, using your home address gives off a fly-by-night, unprofessional vibe. Second, your home address now becomes public knowledge leading to privacy breaches, unscheduled customer visits, or worse. But, you can start on the right foot, with privacy secured thanks to a virtual mailbox.
What is Securing My Privacy All About?
Typically, when starting a business, the personal and the company get co-mingled, which leads to confusion with personal/business finances. But what goes unnoticed is that when you use your home address to register a business, it immediately enters the public domain.
This may lead to invasions of privacy. For example, it’s conceivable that customers show up at your front door, jeopardizing your family’s privacy and safety. You’ve left yourself open to all sorts of privacy breaches.
Everyone has a different point of view on privacy. However, generally speaking, it means creating and maintaining a buffer between your personal information and hackers (dark web), the public domain, e-commerce websites, and government sector websites. The bottom line: Share your business, not your home address!
Keep Your Identity and Privacy Information Safe From the Public Domain
Most people are unaware of how much their identity and personal information is readily available on the internet and how vulnerable they are when they use their home address to register their business.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines Personally Identifiable Information (PII) as any information that permits an individual’s identity to be directly or indirectly inferred, including any information linked or linkable to an individual.
Additionally, the DHS categorizes ID and personal data as “Sensitive PII” when it could severely compromise your privacy and day-to-day activities. This sensitive data includes:
Your Name and Related Family: Not only your full name, but your maiden name or your mother’s maiden name.
Personal ID numbers: It starts with your social security number. But a driver’s license number, passport number, patient ID number, taxpayer ID number, credit account number, or financial account number could be just as devastating.
Vehicle ID or title numbers.
Physical and Digital Addresses: Yes, your residential street address(es) and email address.
Phone numbers, both landlines, and mobile numbers.
Biometrics: Now becoming increasingly important — Retina scans, fingerprints, facial geometry, or voice signatures.
No doubt, that’s a ton of info that a savvy hacker can quickly obtain on the dark web, a porch pirate, or someone taking your mail from an unattended mailbox.
Just Registered Your Business with Your Home Address!
First, a Secretary of State may not permit a residential address or a P.O. Box to register a business in many states. And second, now imagine making a purchase using the EIN Number (Tax ID) from the company and using your home address in the credit card or shipping form. Your home address is now out in the open every time you conduct a business transaction!
Share the passion for your business, but don’t share your home address! Be mindful of the information that you are communicating with the world. Don’t just give out information on phone calls or email, or postal mail unless you know the person.
And always be aware that the
information associated with your business (LLC, C Corp, S Corp) is readily available on the internet to anyone through a Secretary of State website.
This is why it’s critical that you not associate your home address with your business address because compromising one compromises the other!
There are other dire consequences beyond risking financial and other liabilities due to scams when associating your home address with your business.
Upset customers can take it upon themselves to let you know how angry they are in person.
Open yourself up to fraud with business associates or employees.
The 3 Key Steps To Protect Your Privacy and Home Address
In the day-to-day of business, you’ll provide your address to customers, vendors, and virtually anyone without a second thought. But when you register your business with your home address, you’ll be giving out your home address each time. Are you comfortable doing that? You should be wary because your address could end up in the wrong hands!
We understand it isn’t easy to ensure 100% protection of your home address. Here are three key steps to start protecting your home address and privacy:
#1. Use A Separate Business Address to Receive Your Mail and Packages.
You’ve got multiple options available to set up another physical address for your business address. A Virtual Mailbox and Virtual Office are some of the most popular.
A Virtual Mailbox
A virtual mailbox is a service that offers an actual permanent street address that you do not have to visit to retrieve postal mail physically because you manage your postal mail via an app.
The virtual mailbox address you select is an actual staffed, physical location that receives and manages your postal mail and packages at your request, like a virtual assistant for your postal mail.
Your virtual mailbox’s location staff digitizes your mail, scanning the front of it and then uploading it online so that you can access it from your laptop or phone.
Virtual mailboxes also provide practical and convenient features like:
Real-time notifications of mail & packages received. So you can manage postal mail while you’re on the go.
This is not just an “alert”. You get mail scanning and opening services, which is also really helpful to read important mail. And this can help you stay organized as mail and packages come in.
A virtual mailbox delivers a lot of value for the price of a latte. But keep in mind the critical factor here is protecting your identity and privacy, leveraging the benefits a separate business address provides you and your family.
#1: You now have a buffer address to use in personal and business circumstances!
A Virtual Office
Using a virtual office is another excellent way of protecting your privacy and home address.
provide many benefits of traditional office space without a lease’s costly overhead and burden. They come in handy in protecting your personal information and keeping your personal and business affairs separate.
Some of the features offered by most virtual offices include:
Receiving your postal mail and forwarding
A directory listing
Day desks and conference rooms
The mail receipt service of a virtual office is the key here because it means you can avoid using your home address for business purposes, such as registering your business and thereby protecting the privacy and safety of your home and family.
#2. Always Use Your Separate Business Address
Be disciplined and never use your home address for your official business documents or transactions. Make sure to always use your selected separate business address at all times.
Often, you must provide an address of some kind for business records or transactions and innumerable activities relating to your work. Addresses listed as relating to businesses or LLCs are available for anyone to see online, making you vulnerable to everything from credit card junk mail to scammers or worse.
Whatever separate address option you choose, virtual office or virtual mailbox, make sure that is the address associated with your business and not your home address!
#3. Open a Business Bank Account
Most accountants will recommend that a business bank account be separate from personal and business affairs for finance and tax purposes. It’s best to get this right at the start.
But how is this related to protecting your privacy and home address? Now that you have a separate address for your business, you can use that address to set up a business checking account.
It’s important to remember that banks may permit a residential address for a business account, but this is not a good thing because the point is to not use your home address for business.
The Practical and Convenient Solutions to Protecting the Privacy of Your Home Address
Establishing a watertight separation between your home address and your business or work affairs is indispensable. It protects you from minor hassles like scams to more severe breaches like stalking and ID theft. Fortunately, there are some practical and convenient options to securing your privacy while benefiting from everything virtual business address solutions offer.
Virtual mailboxes provide a staffed mail receiving service, with a permanent real street address that you manage from your phone anywhere, anytime.
P.O. Boxes offer a straightforward solution for receiving mail and packages, with the security provided by the USPS.
Virtual offices provide the backbone of a virtual mailbox with all the features offered by physical office spaces, but without the costly overhead.
Selecting one of these options will ensure that your business will run smoothly without risking the confidentiality of your personal and home address information.
Have you decided that a virtual mailbox is the most effective way to protect your privacy? Learn more or browse locations with Anytime Mailbox