Everywhere you look someone is trying to get your information. Your name, your date of birth, your social security number, your driver's license number, your mother's maiden name, your favorite pet, your address, your phone number, your company name, your vehicle license and registration, and even your eye color (Green like July).
They collect this information so they can sell to you better. How do they do this? They watch you. Paranoid? Yes. With good reason? Yes. Keeping private is of utmost importance!
Why should you stay private?
A better question would be why shouldn't you stay private? Everyone in the world does not need access to your intimate details and information. Those details can be used against you whether you do any wrong or not.
You can be SUED FOR ANYTHING in our world. If you're as handsome as me you will have trouble with stalkers. Any crazy person can try and track you down and sue you for any bit of nonsense.
Not to mention all the Government agencies are watching you and spying on you, YES YOU!
Below we will discuss some very basic, but rock solid, strategies to stay private in an ever increasingly non-private world.
An alias is a fake name. It is not illegal to use a fake name unless under oath. When should you use an alias? All the time. Think of all the times you are asked for your name online.
Do you just give it freely? I used to. Now I don't. I always use an alias unless they are sending me a check and then I use my real name.
My rule is: Only use a real name when you must. That goes for when you're dealing with Government, taxes, and someone who is paying you. Otherwise, use a fake.
BOLD & DETERMINED is of the opinion that you should NEVER give out your physical address (where you live). No one (aside from friends and family whom you trust) should have this information. You should always use a ghost address.
A ghost address is a place where you can get mail but is not where you are located physically. Using a ghost address your real address cannot be traced back to you. An example of a ghost address would be to use a PO Box or a Mailbox Etc. to receive your mail.
A PO Box is pretty dirt cheap for the security it provides. Another option is to use an online company which will receive your mail (in another State), scan it and email it to you, and depending on what you tell them to do they will forward it to any address you choose or they will shred it. Here at the premises we use Mailbox Forwarding.
Cell Phone Privacy
Smart phones are a spy's wet dream. Any hacker worth his salt can get into your smart phone using the Bluetooth capabilities, the wireless internet, the instant messaging. Anything. Hackers will set up free Wi-Fi access in public places such as libraries, cafes and airports.
Unsuspecting users who log onto the hot spot are then monitored for passwords, credit card numbers and account information. Those apps you download can be harmful too. Many cell phone users leave their Bluetooth signal constantly on, and never change the default passcodes, usually “0000” or “1234.”
For these reasons I no longer use a smart phone. I have been using a plain Jane phone with no extra capabilities except for phone calls and text messaging (and I'll be damned if the charge doesn't last 4 times as long as a smart phone. I charge the thing once every four days instead of every day).
You can pick up track phones at the local gas station (what ghetto'ites call a “burner”) for $15 and renew minutes as you go. This past year I have saved at least $1400 not using a smart phone with a full data plan. If you want to go the extra mile you can pay with cash and use an alias when you set up service.
Never put personal information on your cell phone. No social security number, credit card numbers, date of birth, passwords, or compromising pictures.
Nearly everything you put online can be traced back to you. That's why you must take double-special-extra precaution when you put any information online. Remember, NOTHING YOU PUT ONLINE IS SAFE. It can all be traced back to you, and that INCLUDES emails you write.
Yes, all emails are read and stored by papa gumment. Before you put something on the internet, think to yourself if you would like it read back to you five years later (don't be like BOLD & DETERMINED and say the unpleasant truth, at least not under your real name). Anything can come back to haunt you.
The only way your emails are safe is if you use an encrypted email and the person you are messaging also uses encrypted email. You can get a free secure email address at Hushmail but remember, it is not private unless BOTH parties use encrypted email.
Always use several emails. Have a real email you use for friends and family and use several baloney emails with fake names for all the endless sites that ask you for an email (but use a real email for the BOLD & DETERMINED email updates. We don't sell emails or give out info).
Facebook is a stalkers heaven. You check in and they know exactly where you are. They know exactly where you were last Friday at 2pm. They know your name, your date of birth, your email, maybe your address, your company, your favorite TV shows, and most of all they have crystal clear pictures of your pretty face to go right alongside your full name.
Just say no to social media unless you are using it for business purposes. If you have tons of pictures online and can't get rid of them what you do is add those same pictures, with tons of different names, to tons of different sites. That way, you dilute the impact and no one knows which is the real name and the real you. Of course, it's best if you never use your pictures with your real name in the first place!
Rules for Online Privacy:
- Always use aliases.
- Never use social media with your real name and face.
- Never, ever use your real address. Always use a fake address (123 Jerkwater st. Nowhere, IA) unless something is being shipped to you and then you can use your ghost address.
- Never, ever use your real date of birth with your real name, and never use your social security number (unless it is an absolute must).
- You do not want your real name associated with your real face. Social media is a no-go unless you are using it for business purposes, and I would use a fake name or fake pictures.
- Stay away from social media
- If your pics are online and you can't get rid of them, put many pics with different names online (especially if you have an uncommon name)
Always buy privacy protection when you buy an internet domain. The world does not need to know what websites you own.
Rather than use a real credit card or debit card for purchases, giving hackers in a who-knows-how-far radius access to you, you can use prepaid debit cards that can be purchased at your local store.
Remember, you want NOTHING to be able to be traced back to you.
Your IP Address can be used to track your physical location. Unless you use a Proxy or a VPN (Virtual Private Network), each time you visit a website or leave a comment the webmaster knows almost your exact location (remember that next time you leave someone a nasty comment).
A proxy is a piece of software that changes your physical location to a faraway location. A proxy or VPN is like a ghost address for your computer. I use two proxies: a free proxy called Freegate and a paid VPN. The paid one is far superior to Freegate, which is always in need of updates for it to work, and VPN's are extremely cheap. You can purchase a VPN by the day, week, month or year. The longer you go, the cheaper it gets.
- Don't click on links from emails you don't know.
- Never click on a link from a banking institution or anywhere else asking you to put in your credit card information again.
- Never give out information over the phone. Social Engineers (today's con artists) will call you, pretending to be from a company you use, to “confirm” your details about a purchase or something. They won't forget to confirm your date of birth, your credit card and CVC number, bank account, and your name.
Keeping private offline is much easier than keeping private online. Some things to remember: Never use your physical address, only your ghost address. That goes for the pizza delivery boy. Pizza joints keep your address on file. You're better off going to pick up the pizza. Say you have a stalker, and they have your phone number but not your address, they can call up some pizza joints and say this:
Stalker: Delivery please.
Pizza place: What's your phone number?
Pizza Place: Is your address still 123 Jerkwater st?
Stalker (with a big smile): It sure is!
And now they have your address. You may think you will never have a stalker, but you would be naive. Just because YOU would never stalk anyone does not mean the crazies, weirdos and psychopaths would never stalk anyone. Our world is full of crazies and lawsuit happy lunatics.
Or maybe someone wants to sue you or blackmail you and hires a Private Detective to do all their dirty work. They will be happy to go through your garbage looking for any pieces of mail that they can use to harm you with. Always, always, always shred your mail when you are finished.
Just like online, you should never give out your information offline. Some stores will ask for a name and phone number and/or address just before you checkout. Just say no, or give them fakes.
Remember, make sure the person you give the information to deserves the information.
When I was in College there were a bunch of dirty hippies signing up people for credit cards in exchange for a free submarine sandwich at a local restaurant.
Tons of college kids gave them their name, date of birth, social security number, and drivers license number all in exchange for a free sandwich! If you want the free sandwich, only give fake info!
You should carry a passport, rather than a State issued ID or drivers license, as your main identification. A passport does not have your date of birth or address. A date of birth is almost as good as your social security number, keep it hidden! The only person you should show your State issued ID to is a law enforcement officer who asks for it.
Cash is King
Always pay cash. Cash is king. Cash is untraceable. When you make purchases online you can buy prepaid debit cards and use them, rather than your real debit or credit card. If a hacker gets ahold of a pre-paid debit card, big deal! If a hacker gets ahold of your real credit or debit then that can be a VERY BIG DEAL!
Don't carry all your cash in the same spot. Hide it around the house, hide it in your car, hide it in your shoes. If you get robbed just give the robbers the token amount you carry in your pocket. Depending on where you are you can be pick-pocketed as well. Keep your cash, and your passport, safe!
Always cover the screen when you put in your pin number for your ATM card. There are a lot of sophisticated criminals in this world who can do a lot of bad things with your card number and pin number. I got in this habit in Asia, I would protect my pin number like a prisoner protects his food. As a consequence, I never got robbed or scammed except for the time I got pick-pocketed by two trannies in Thailand.
- If it can be read, you must shred!
- Make sure every person you give info to deserves that info.
- When dealing with law enforcement keep your mouth shut! Lawyer up before you say a word. They will just usually let you go with a warning. Never admit to anything (like speeding) and don't give out your social if they ask for it. Say “Officer, am I required by law to give my social to you?“.
- Never associate your real address and name.
- Cash is king.
- Never apply for credit cards out in the open!
- Keep your ATM pin private and hidden.
Social Security and Date of Birth
Never give out your social security number and date of birth unless you absolutely must. You will need these things when you file for taxes, deal with the government, deal with your employer etc. but everyday people do not need this information. Just say no to giving out your social and always use a fake date of birth.
Lot of bad people in this world, friends. They don't care who they rob, steal or scam from. You could be next if you don't take precautions. Keeping yourself private is keeping yourself safe. You never, ever know what someone will do with your private and personal information.
Let me give you one example: I have had death threats from this very website. From both left wing loonies and right wing loonies. Some real insanity has come to my inbox.
Anything can happen. Keep yourself prepared, keep yourself safe, keep yourself smart. Keeping your information private is essential.
PS – How do you keep ownership of your house and car completely private and anonymous?
What if you accidentally cut off some maniac while driving, he remembers your license plate number, and then one night you get a visitor calling on your home?
What if your wife or loved one does?
What if someone has your license plate number and wants to sue you for bogus reasons?
Answer coming soon.