Sex workers are in a hazardous profession. Personal safety should ALWAYS be the priority and, whilst there are going to be risks, there are some basic things to know when setting up a work profile.
Use secure passwords
This is a basic recommendation but one of the most important. Some websites legally require personal details in order to register. This is often due to money laundering, trafficking or child protection laws. Consequently, your first line of defence is a strong password. It is advised to not use the same password for multiple sites, use a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and special characters and to keep this password safe and secure.
Avoid public networks
Using public WiFi is notoriously risky for your personal information. If you are trying to keep your accounts and identity private it is strongly advised to avoid using unsecured networks. If there is no other option, using a VPN must be a minimum requirement.
Use a VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) is, without a doubt, an easy way to significantly strengthen your online privacy. The benefits of using a VPN disguises IP address and therefore location to allow anonymous browsing, allowing entry to sites with locally denied access and creating savings by clouding the digital footprint left and confusing websites as to interest. It is important to shop around for the best VPN for you and your needs and locality. It is also wise to research local laws regarding VPN use as this can vary and be aware that use of a VPN can affect service speed.
Use encryption software
Encryption software ‘scrambles’ information before being sent, protecting the data enclosed. Keep a look our for a lock icon that indicates the data is encrypted. Ensure that this is present on all transmissions. Sometimes specific websites are encrypted but this doesn’t mean that it will apply to all browsing without confirmation.
Don’t overshare on social media
Be conscious of what you post. It is always advisable to create a SW’er specific social media profile for a number of reasons.You can limit what personal information is shared, gain followers without exposing your personal relationships and you can disguise you name and content. Be sure to turn off your location services and maintain high levels of privacy on your personal profile. Never link your personal profile to your public persona and do not cross link your personal page to other platforms. Obtain a phone number specifically for work related activity and only link this to your social media. It is possible to find accounts or be recommended accounts by someone having a phone number in their contacts. Don’t get caught out.
Watch your backgrounds
Photos can give a lot more away than you originally intended. Inspect any picture you place on your public profile very carefully before posting. Landmarks in the background, shops, reflections and events can provide an accurate current location to somebody who cared to check. It would be the worst to go to all of the previous lengths to stay private to only be caught out by a reflection in a window in the background.
Safely dispose of old equipment
We keep a wealth of personal information on our laptops and phones and this gets more apparent as time and technology progresses. Selling preloved tech is extremely commonplace and it’s very important to remember to fully wipe devices before passing them on. Remove the SIM, wipe the memory and reset factory settings. This simple action seem obvious but can easily be forgotten.
Technology is great when used correctly and with good intention, However, as we become more and more connected in everyday life, anonymity gets harder and harder to maintain. Be mindful of your surrounding, what you share with the world and try and maintain a certain standard when it comes to vetting. Money comes and goes, but safety and health are necessary for a high quality life.