A few years ago, I changed my last name in court, but did not freeze my credit records since it was not possible then. I have so far managed to keep my new name off of those people search websites, which is very important to me.
Now I would like to put my new name and new address on my credit card so I can use it when I travel, and I also want to freeze my credit records. However, my legal last name on my ID differs from the old name on the credit records. I would really appreciate some advice from those of you who have frozen your records on how this works.
- Once you freeze your credit accounts, is your credit header info (name, dob, address, etc) also frozen? If the header info is still made publicly available, is your old name part of that credit header or just the current name?
- Will I encounter problems if I try to freeze my credit records without updating the name first? My ID is in my new name, and I hear you have to show ID to send and receive certified mail. Also, I believe that one of the three agencies requires a photo ID, but I was thinking about putting a fraud alert on that one and freezing the other two. However, this won't work if I have to show current ID with a matching name to send and receive certified mail.
- Do I need my credit records to reflect my current name? I rarely use them for anything. Would there be a problem if two credit agencies have the old info and only one has the current info? I don't want to do anything that looks weird or calls attention to myself. I'm thinking about just asking Discover to issue a second card with the new name and keeping the account under the old name. I am very hesitant to give the credit bureaus my new name because I don't really know what they will do with it.
- One last thing: has anyone crossed out their DL number and photo when sending in the copy of their ID to freeze their credit? I hate the idea of giving them more info than they already have.
Thank you all for your help. I really appreciate any advice you can give me about staying out of those people search websites and about keeping the old and new names from being linked in places that anyone can find effortlessly.
The link below contains a diagram near the bottom of the page that shows how one "Caller Name" (CNAM) data is obtained to be shown on receiving caller's caller ID box, how the provider captures that information for its databases and then sells it to its subscribers, ostensibly for the buyer's marketing purposes. Just one more reason to protect your phone privacy (and, at the same time, thwart the data aggegators' and marketers' purposes!).
URL #1: http://www2.embarq.com/wholesale/clec_products_callingnamestorage.html
Wendy, , Age: 45
First, Nikki, THANKS for posting Rambam's presentation, "Privacy is Dead--Get Over It". By watching the entire presentation, doing some research on Rambam and finding others at the conference where he was speaking, I can use the information to fine-tune my own privacy strategy (and am VERY glad I took some of the steps I have in just the last 30 days).
Second, to Billson, Rambam confirmed EVERY detail of what I told you in his presentation about phone numbers. He covers cell phones EXTENSIVELY--all the ways you can be tracked and traced using them, especially iPhones (mostly by your own actions--like retaining phone numbers that are or were in your name). But, about halfway through part 28 of this video of his presentation, he shows how PIs use just a phone number to BEGIN to develop an entire biographical profile on an investigative subject. (A slide in that part of the video shows a SMALL number of places--about 30 or so--your phone number is archived in some database someplace, especially if it's an old phone number, a cell phone or a landline (esp., those in your name, SS# and/or true street address.) The investigative process continues with data developed from the phone number.)
That's why it's critical to get RID of your old phone number at any cost and NOT get a new phone using any payment instrument in your own name, that of a spouse or relative or friend. Like I've said in previous posts, there is investigative/datamining software that can determine relationships among people that can be used to determine whose credit card you used to buy a phone. (And, again, it's not those cheesy sites that typically have erroneous info about you in them that most consumers get access to free or with a credit card. Though it's illegal (or of questionably legality) to collect such information on anyone without their written permission, unless you're a law enforcement officer or federal agent with a legitimate reason, it didn't stop my stalker so it won't stop other unscrupulous individuals.)
Third, below is a CNET article that confirmed both what I and others have said about bluetooth and wireless hotspots (as well as RFID tags, which are being added to everything so don't buy stuff like printers with your own credit card (or, again, using any payment instrument linked to you or another individual associated with you; buy CASH but not in conjunction with one of those store rewards cards in your name!), the article also confirmed what I said about using a VPN when accessing wireless connections on computers (and they're are available for some phones but useless if your you have a iPhone or other phone is in your own name). BTW, the individual discussing flaws with this technology was at the same event as Rambam (an annual event for hackers); this guy is one). You may wanna take him seriously.
So, if you have time, listen to Rambam's entire presentation, research the event itself ("the Last HOPE) and find out who else was at that event and find videos, articles and other content on them to see how your HTBI strategy stacks up against what they tell you. (Well, unless you're attempting to hide from legal action of some kind because then, your searches might be used against you.)
Like I frequently say, if you haven't gone as far HTBI private as you can, do it and FAST. And, keep up with the latest technology so you can know how to modify your strategy when necessary. Once you learn HTBI techniques and thoroughly implement them, it's pretty easy to modify them appropriately--especially if you keep coming back here to learn more. Since Rambam uses multiple examples of finding people when stuff is in their own name, privacy is only dead if you don't go completely HTBI and carefully stay that way.
URL #1: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-9995022-83.html?tag=mncol;title
In reference to using nominees, ghost addresses, LLC's for vehicles, having unlimited resources to find somebody, etc.: If one has a predictable pattern to their movements (for example, one has to be at work on a predictable schedule), all it would take to find one's home address, vehicle, etc., would be to follow you home from work. It tends to make me consider only working from home or working as a traveling employee who rarely goes "home", such as as a truck-driver. This wouldn't apply to most of us, of course, but if one was actively being "surveilled", and had to work outside the home, do you have any suggestions?
Dorothy, , Age: 40
... And speaking of self-employment--many of we work-at-home types have no worries about being laid off during the current recession. I hope that my e-book SKIP COLLEGE: Go Into Business For Yourself will help any of you readers who've lost your day job and are having no success in searching for another one.
Some time ago, someone posted a video of a presentation by PI Steve Rambam. Hiss presentation has been updated since then, including discussions of...
- how Google gathers information about you and cross-references it all to link it to you by Google account name and IP address - Rambam refers to Google as "Subpeona Target #1". (Part 6 @ 2:15);
- ISPs that sell users' entire Internet activity record to marketing companies (Part 10 @ 4:20);
- the ways cellphones can be used to track your physical location and activities (Part 14 @ 3:00); and
- information about "Skyhook," a service that locates people by which WiFi network their devices are connected to.
The most interesting part of the presentation comes when Rambam discusses how someone volunteered to be investigated, and Rambam shows how much information could be found only using PI databases and publicly-available Internet sources (Part 29, 0:00). Rambam also discusses a "hide-and-seek" bet he later had with his "volunteer," in which Rambam bets the volunteer that Rambam can find the volunteer's specific location ("You're sitting in O'Malley's Irish Pub on First Street in Sarasota, FL") at least once every 60 days, for ten consecutive 60-day periods (Part 30, 2:10).
URL #1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsxxsrn2Tfs&feature=PlayList&p=ACA43C7BDB02D1F9&index=0&playnext=1
All is not hopeless, of course, for you HTBI readers. Rambam talks about scanning plates to find you, but your vehicles are all titled with LLCs, right? Also, he talks about finding you via credit use and bank accounts but if you are using nominees for both, that will make for a cold trail.
Nevertheless, as I have said before, anyone can be found if the searcher has unlimited time and unlimited funds. Government agencies sometimes do, but PIs have limits, beyond which they will drop the search.
Billson, I wouldn't use social media sites to create a trail of disinformation for you because some can aggregate data about you from all over the internet and link it to your Facebook or Myspace page or make it easy to find for others.
Like Theresa said, get and use ghost addresses and phone numbers (especially for anything linked to your SS#) and make sure they get into the databases. If there's negative information online about you, go straight to site administrators and request it be removed.
Don't use social media site like Facebook or Myspace unless you need to for business or are already a public figure. For those who want to use social media and have unusual names, you CAN use them with a unique name and still maintain your privacy but you have to create HTBI privacy as close to level 4 as possible, first, and use a VPN whenever online. You also limit the number of photos you post, make Facebook private (you CAN be unsearchable on FB) and don't put any personal information (or business info, other than privately registered website URL and toll free number, if not necessary)
If you don't need to be online, get whatever information that's negative about you offline, monitor your own online profile (using Google, searching your name) and maintain a low private profile.
Billson, unfortunately, if want to be HTBI private and you're talking keeping a current a cell or landline phone number or even account, no, you can't keep them, even under a pseudonym and prepaid service and maintain your privacy. For one thing, how many databases is that number in? Have you EVER used it to register for anything from school to a credit card or driver's license? If you have kids, how many people have they or other relatives given your phone number to?
For another thing, PIs, those with any kind of intelligence background, especially military, investigative journalists, and reasonably sophisticated others like bill collectors, stalkers, computer hackers, etc., can use people searching software to tie you to others and, by looking at THEIR phone records (not legal but still done by some PIs, stalkers and private citizens and legally done by law enforcement), they will see YOUR phone number in your associates (relatives, friends and colleague's) phone records. They don't have to have phone record for that phone number in your name, just know that you can be reached by those associated with you at your old number. (Some, like an older or neurotic relatives, can be tricked or frightened into calling you for some reason and "give you up" that way.)
So, even changing carriers without changing numbers makes little sense if the number you have is your known phone number, is in databases, contained in the phone records of relatives, friends, employers and casual associates. Also, your previous carrier has to know what new carrier to transfer your phone number to and will have your written request to make the transfer. Thus, your current phone number probably already has a long paper trail, especially if you've had it awhile so keeping it and maintaining privacy is unlikely.
Moreover, cell phones either ping a nearby cell tower or create a record in the carrier's database each time they ring, even into voicemail, are paged or sent an SMS. (And, again, that number is in your caller's phone records as an outgoing call.) That makes it possible for someone to track you, especially if they can readily determine your carrier--easy and free to do online, in many cases. And landlines, despite new laws prohibiting pre-texting to gain or otherwise accessing consumer phone information, can still be tracked to your actual location, especially by law enforcement. Even if you use Vumber with your old number, anyone running your background is going to check to see if you still have that old number and test it to see if it still leads to you.
That's because law enforcement, good PIs, many of whom ARE former law enforcement, and slick bill collectors can figure out far more easily than most people if you've just transferred an old phone number to a new name and carrier by getting someone you know to call you on the number, as in the examples above. (All you gotta do is watch any true crime show like A&E channel's "The First 48", which depicts real-life local law enforcement homicide investigations, or "Manhunters: Fugitive Taskforce", which depicts federal agents, the U.S. Marshall's, hunting fugitive. In fact, wanna truly understand the need for HTBI, watch THAT show.)
You have to go virtual to maintain your privacy in a digital world where it's far easier to find out what cell carrier you have and hack into your phone carriers' computers to find out where you are located or where you were last with your cell phone. That means a using service like Vumber or some other virtual phone service that allows you to both receive and make calls as your "public" number with a cell phone or VoIP number known only to you, Vumber and the carrier. That will make you hard to trace, unless you tell people you use Vumber or give them your true, private phone number.p>
You could also use a VoIP service privately if you're behind a properly set up software or hardware VPN. (Otherwise your ISP knows you're using VoIP service and, if you get broadband service through a cable company, those records are NOT nearly as private as phone records are supposed to now be.)
Again, only you can decide what your privacy is worth.
If the information that can be discovered on the internet about Billson is accurate and not negative (positive or neutral), my thought would be to not mess with it in any way. Rather, I would simply try to establish an alternate address that would become the "public" and "ghost" address of record. In other words, just separate your identity from the address where you sleep at night.
If on the other hand, the info is negative (whether true or false, but perceived as negative), I'm not sure what could or should be done about it. I wouldn't recommend a fake facebook, though. One should consider the repercussions if the fake facebook were exposed as an attempt to clean up the image of the true identity. A legal name change in a state favorable for name changes vs. the public records laws might be in order if the truthful information available on the internet were sufficiently negative to justify wanting to disappear thoroughly.
In response to Billson (#5332), if it were me, I would not make a fake profile. The reason is that if there is someone trying to verify your identity or checking you out that you want to have a relationship with (such as a bank compliance officer, a business partner, a detective, etc.) they might google you, see the wrong info and pictures and conclude that you are may not be who you say you are. Then, you'll probably have explaining to do if you want things to go well... just a though.
Mark, , Age: 25
We just read a MSN article on how authorities are able to jam cell signals when they deem it necessary (see referenced article).
Does anyone have a suggestion for a reliable communication device that will allow our family members to keep in touch should jamming ever be implemented on a local or regional level?
URL #1: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28956016
Mary, , Age: 60
I have read that the Obama administration is crafting a bill to change all medical records into an electronic format. Apparently no one will be able to opt out of this. First, is this true? Secondly, before I read your book, I used insurance and my real name at the physician's office. What can be done about this now? Any additional advice? Thanks
Jessica, , Age: 45
Because I have a rare first name and unusual last name, a web search on my name will find only things about me and no one else. I don't currently have a facebook or myspace account, but I've thought about getting one simply so that I can put some misinformation out there, such as wrong address and photo. Does anyone see any negative consequences of this? Is it better just to try to keep my name off the web altogether?
Billson, , Age: 41
Gene- Sadly, JJ is right on about the publishing industry. I'm discussing my book with an interested literary agent who, btw has an impressive track record but right now he really doesn't know if anything will take. He said he presently he has five manuscripts just sitting with publishers where as before, there would be a bidding war.
Self-publication and eBooks is the way to go; and you can use whatever name you want. Here's a link to a fascinating article on the changes in publishing.
URL #1: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1873122,00.html
Can't you keep your old number and just use it as a message service? Some carriers must allow you to send voice messages to email like www.k7.net does. Then as long as you can access your email anonymously, you can access your voice messages anonymously.
On a related note, does anyone know if it is possible for someone to locate the computer you are checking your email from just from knowing your email address?
I have successfully used a simon giftcard to set up the account you describe.
The key is to make sure the information used to register the card matches the information used to register at the other website...
Mike, I don't know of a reloadable CREDIT card. There are, however, a number of Visa or MasterCard branded reloadable DEBIT cards. (See link below for the one that I use.)
You can buy them at grocery stores, etc., with an intial load on them. But to reload them, you do end up providing your SSN to a bank in order to set up an account and get a card with your name on it. Befor doing so, set up a ghost address (such as the Alaska address that Rosie offers elsewhere on this site). In my case, I also set up a cellphone account with a 907 (Alaska) area code using that ghost address as the billing address.
If you are NOT a resident of the USA, you can set up a Netspend debit card without using an American SSN.
URL #1: http://www.netspend.com/
I have never heard of that email service but I did like the "five levels of discretion" page (simliar somewhat to Mr. Luna three levels of privacy).
URL #1: http://www.novo-ordo.com/discretion.php
Daniel, , Age: 36
Although this code is very common for websites (it's used to create statistics for the site owner) and often automatically added by hosting services, the script itself directs your browser to connect to www.google-analytics.com, which means they can see and collect your IP address and which sites you visited. Possibly a lot more.
URL #1: http://www.google.com/urchin/index.html
I bought a simons card trying to activate a paypal account. I failed. I figure it ia because Simons card is not reloadable. Anyone knows about a reloadable credit card please ?
mike, , Age: 48
This man managed to stay invisible (under a fake identity) for just shy of 20 years. He was tripped up by a vehicle light that wasn't working properly. He brought grief to his new family because he wasn't honest with them about his previous life. He brought grief to his old family because he never said goodbye. Interestingly, the article points out the anguish the lifeguard likely felt as well, thinking for 20 years that he may have failed in his duties when he actually did not. I find it interesting that the "invisible man" apparently did many things "right" in order to disappear yet did them for the wrong reasons and was found out through happenstance rather than faulty processes.
URL #1: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/01/29/faked.death.arrest/index.html?eref=rss_crime
Dorothy, , Age: 40
Is anyone familiar with this service?
URL #1: http://www.novo-ordo.com/
Ray, , Age: 42
Well, Jack, one reason that I doubt that the Ixquick service is a sting is that it bears the European Privacy Seal from Europrise. This involved both technical and legal reviews by European experts. (See the link below for a list of products that currently have this seal -- there aren't very many!) This review process certifies, among other things, that it complies with the European privacy laws, which are rather stricter than the privacy laws in the USA.
URL #1: https://www.european-privacy-seal.eu/awarded-seals
Hamish, , Age: 65
How can I protect my identity using a pen name for a book?
Can I use a DBA filing using a name say like Toby Wolf without having to expose who I really am?
Gene, , Age: 53
... But in any event, when you write to an agent, do not reveal that you are using a pen name because if you do, you will be asked for your real name.
... If, however, lightning strikes and it appears you may actually get a check in the future, things will get more complicated. The least-worse solution will be to form an LLC and then get a nominee—hopefully a family member—who will sign a contract on behalf of the LLC and who will insist that the agent send the check in his or her name. The agent will then require the address and SSN of the nominee.
I found an article about this at [www (dot) PogoWasRight (dot) org]. The ixQuick search engine seems to be a privacy-friendly search engine, with servers in The Netherlands and in California, USA.
Age: 65 (or so)
I have chosen to use this as my default search engine, and I recommend that others consider doing likewise.
URL #1: http://www.ixquick.com/
The economic stimulus bill has a rider that puts all medical records into a privacy robbing database.
URL #1: http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.printable&pageId=87322
Bruce, , Age: 30
(1) If real estate is put in the name of a trust, can the utilites also be put in the name of the trust?
(2) How would a trust be less private than an LLC?
(2) It's not.
Here's and article about another data breach that should make readers question how much info about themselves they post to these sites.
URL #1: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9126738
Wendy, , Age: 45
I found the article below, which talks about a security breach of Heartland Payment Systems' databases, which is said to be BIGGER than that of the TJX database breach. This is yet another reason to get HTBI compliant fast.
URL #1: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9126879
Wendy, , Age: 45
What the Web knows about you
How much private information is available about you in cyberspace? Social Security numbers are just the beginning.
This article covers a lot.
"Rambam says he once tracked down a subject by calling pharmacies near the person's address, posing as the subject and asking if his prescription was ready. He quickly learned both the name of the prescription and the doctor who prescribed it. By calling the doctor's office, he was then able to get the time and date of the subject's next appointment. While all this is illegal (he did it with the subject's permission, as part of a friendly bet) and he says most professional investigators don't do that today, he's certain that scammers use the technique."
At the end of the article is another link for this.
"'12 tips for managing your information footprint'
Take an active role in controlling your personal data."
URL #1: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9125058
Jordan, if texting (SMS) is an integral part of either your livelihood or your communication with essential people....
Please consider getting an ANONYMOUS phone exclusively for texting.
You can text to and from a phone without connecting it to anything else in your existence if you are extremely careful. DON'T: EVER EVER EVER actually place a voice call or text to or from that number that isn't going to or from one of the "trusted friends" that you are texting or calling, or else your own voicemail.
If you have a maximum of TWO friends with whom you need to communicate via text or voice, you could set up a 2 to 3-way system of PREPAID cell phones exclusively for the 2 to 3 of you. Set them up ANONYMOUSLY and SIMULTANEOUSLY. IF your friends are THAT TRUSTED, they would be "on-board" with this concept, and they would also agree that they would neither send nor receive communications from that phone to anybody outside your "circle of trust" ... lol! My point here? If your friends are THAT "in tune" with your goals, they will get on-board with this and agree to it.
THEN.... Only use those phones for those purposes and only power those phones on when you are in "safe" locations relative to where you sleep at night or work during the day.
Not that I'm paranoid or anything... :) Seriously, if you're looking for secure communications between 2-3 people, it CAN be done, but EVERYBODY involved has to be in agreement!
Yes, and please tell her to post her address publicly and leave all the window covering open so anyone who wants to can come by take picture, watch what she's up to, etc., because without HTBI, she might as well be naked and prancing before her windows after posting her address online for all to see. Oh, yeah! That's RIGHT! If she's in all those databases the book talks about, then she HAS posted her address online for anyone who wants the information to find!
Wendy, , Age: 45
I want to thank everybody for their helpful comments on my original post, 5293! I have a few specific responses:
- Dorothy 5294: Excellent point - cell #2 could be discovered if one of my contacts' phone history is investigated! Unfortunately, since for me, the benefits to SMS text messaging outweight the privacy costs, I don't see any alternative to giving out my cell #2 number to certain trusted individuals so that they can send texts directly to cell #2 - and, yes, run the risk that these trusted friends will be investigated and my cell #2 discovered.
- Marc 5296: Good point - I do need to be careful about where I power-on cell #1! That said, I'm not so concerned about people finding out I live in metro-NYC: there are a 1,000 other things that link me to the area (but not a specific address). Also, I DO NOT WANT to switch public numbers - so the VOIP suggestion is not pertinent to me. (But to those for whom it might apply - take note! This is a GREAT SUGGESTION!) Also, the VOIP idea doesn't allow me to utilize SMS, which is one of my requirements.
- Dorothy 5297/5301 and Wendy 5298/5299/5302: For me, the benefits to SMS text messaging outweigh the privacy costs. I require a solution that includes use of SMS messaging - and as I understand it, a text sent to my Vumber # will not be forwarded to my cell #. So far as I can tell, the only solution is to tolerate the privacy problems that arise, and give out my cell #2 number to a limited number of individuals.
Thanks for your help, everyone! If anyone can think of a different arrangement that includes keeping my existing number as well as includes the use of SMS, please let me know!
There is no 100% sure way to disable a camera or microphone on a computer short of physically disconnecting it. Even with the driver or controlling application unloaded, it's fairly easy to write software that will access the hardware directly, bypassing any need for drivers or services. Any data can be captured to the disk, hidden in an encrypted file or in unused disk areas (which will not show as files) and then trickled out once the computer is on-line.
If you never allow the computer network access or otherwise exchange data with the outside world (use read only mediums like CD/DVD to import data onto the computer) then you are pretty safe, as there is no way for data to leak out, short of losing the computer itself.
If you must have internet access, have a tech install a hardware switch on the microphone and cover the camera with a tiny bit of tape as suggested. Also, keep this in mind when someone leaves their PC, briefcase phone or other item in your proximity. It might be a bug, so keep your mouth shut around such items.
Marc, , Age: 44
How do you protect your privacy when doing a marriage license?
My fiance does not see the value of HTBI and thinks i am paranoid, how do I help her?
Richard Garcia, , Age: 45
... If for some reason this license must be hidden forever, then get married in another country. But otherwise, just don't allow your true address to show up on the license.
... Has your fiancée read at least the first two chapters of "How to Be Invisible?" If so, and if she still thinks privacy is unimportant, ask her to please e-mail me her true name, date of birth, SSN, home address, and to attach a recent picture. If she refuses, ask her "Why not, if you have nothing to hide? ... :-)
1. When you set up a non interest bearing bank account I know there is a law that says you do not have to provide a social security number because there is no interest to report? Where is this law, can you send a link?
2. Also when submitting credit card information do you have to provide a social security number, if you do not will they deny your card?
3. Are there companies that do not require one?
4. How does one establish credit with out a card?
... 2. Yes, it will be denied.
... 3. No.
... 4. Do not worry about credit. Run your life on a cash basis. If this advice had been followed in past years by Americans, there would be no financial meltdown today.
I think as long as you keep the camera disabled until you want to use it, you should be fine. But that means you should have to go through an entire process to start and run the camera; in other words, you should be forced to locate it on your computer someplace THEN launch it. When you do launch it, run it behind a firewall AND VPN (which should ALWAYS be set to run as a PUBLIC location, even at home so all but the most determined hacker have trouble seeing your computer, especially on a wireless connect REGARDLESS of how secure you think your wireless connection is. Then, remember to shut it down, DISABLE wireless or broadband by removing the ethernet cord from your computer/router, not simply log off or shut down your computer without doing so when the computer isn't in use (since VPN software will disconnect if your computer hibernates, leaving your computer wide open) or you're done.
Then, shut down your VPN, close browsers and ALWAYS shut your computer down when you're finished using it. If you do these things, you shouldn't have to duct-tape your camera. If your camera automatically loads at startup and/or places an icon on your task bar OR there's an clickable icon on your desktop to start the camera, then disable the camera at startup and remove the icons from any desktop, taskbar and quickstart bar. If this is too much work for you, disable or uninstall the camera's software and get out the duct-tape.
As for me, I'm thinking of ways to have my camera do surveillance when I'm not around....
First, to Mike, privacy isn't always cheap. I spend more money maintaining my privacy than I did before HTBI. But my privacy is worth the cost. You have to determine what price your own privacy. Also, I should disclose that I started my Vumber service when it was still in beta so I got the trial price. That means for people just starting the service that, yes, it will be $9.99 per month PLUS $1.99 for each additional number per account.
Second, to Dorothy. Yes, you can have your Vumber calls sent to voicemail BUT if you have them sent to a phone, they will go to the phone's voicemail, not Vumbers'. It's either/or. You can also have the Vumber ring continuously, give a busy single, give a temoorarily out of order message or give a number disconnected message.
And, yes, I do check the numbers using fonfinder.net and the site below. The former gives the phone number provider and provider type, which is helpful if you have a cell phone and want to see if it would be easy to determine the carrier. (With AT&T, that was fairly easy; one of the reasons I got rid of it.) The other reveals the phone type and number issuing location, which is helpful if you want to appear far away from where you're physically located.
Since most of the people I know to whom I give my phone number just take my word for the type of phone I'm using and I use the call forwarding explanation at times, they don't bother to check what kind of phone it is. Anyone that starts asking too many questions about my phone numbers raises my suspicion and I start questioning them. People who know me know not to go there. Develop the "mind your own business, not mine" attitude and people stop questioning what you do after awhile, especially since they know you'll clam up even further if they ask too many questions and 'go away' for awhile if they refuse to get it. The less people you know know about you the better because they will reveal it, sometimes just in casual conversation. "Oh, yeah, Wendy just moved to such and such a place" or "Sure, here's Wendy's phone number and/or email address. Contact her to see if she's going to the church social." Then they'll email me with information about the location and date of the event, which will be on my hard drive and the email provider's, too! They don't usually understand why providing such information about you would bother you because it wouldn't bother them if you gave such information about them. Remember, most people don't think they need HTBI privacy until it's too late or there's some other problem.
Finally, keep in mind with GC that it's part of the Googlesphere and Google wants to be the world largest database of information on other people. They can match your Gmail/Google account with your IP address and the cell phone number and, potentially, make connections to you using special software. It's one of the reasons I've decided to get rid of any Google account that is connected directly to me and is for personal use. In the US and EU, largely because of the Patriot Act, it's very easy for investigators and law enforcement to present subpoenas to US- and EU-based companies to get information on you and most companies don't fight the subpoena, just turn over the information.
Sometimes, PIs and others just outright pretext to get the information since pretexting laws only pertain to phone records, not email email, utilities and other services. So be wary of using US- or EU-based services for privacy protection because they may not work as expected, especially when someone is determined to locate you or find out more about you and has the means to do so. Therefore, it's important to use whatever time and means YOU have to protect yourself from those folks. Slacking in any area related to privacy can be costly, much more costly than the $10 or so per month Vumber costs. So ask yourself, what are my personal assets, freedom and even life worth to me? You'll spend accordingly to protect your privacy.
URL #1: http://www.reversephonereports.com/
Can you have multiple Vumbers ringing the same cell phone? Can you choose whether to send Vumber calls to Vumbermail or regular voicemail on the cell phone? Have you run a whitepages.com search on your vumbers? My GC number shows up in whitepages as an Ameritech landline and doesn't show up on whitepages' cell carrier search, both of which would poke holes in my ability to tell people that it was a cell phone, so I use the GC # as my "home phone" and occasionally people are surprised when I'm clearly not home while talking to them (background noises give it away), but then I just tell them that I'm using call forwarding.
Also, does anybody have any thoughts on web cams? Can they be "hijacked" by others over the internet or through WiFi /bluetooth connections? Do I need to get the duct tape out?
this is true but you neglect to say vumber cost almost $10 a month! and is only free for 30 days and each additional vumber is almost $4 a month.
this can become very expensive!
mike, , Age: 32
In addition to what I say below, I've also deactivated anything on my phone that allows connecting to my phone wirelessly by others and use a wired headset. (If you have features like bluetooth, beaming, GPS location, etc., deactivate if you want to protect you privacy.) I don't have a data service so I can't access the internet, download news, weather, traffic or anything. I get that info online or on television. No additional GPS software has been installed so only the AGPS law enforcement uses to locate me is available (and, from what I understand, hard to use by anyone else, especially without the phone number and carrier).
I also deactivated bluetooth on my portable GPS device since, although I have no services on it that make it a GPS receiver, bluetooth can substitute for that, used correctly. Finally, I've deactivated the bluetooth on my laptop, as well as file and printer sharing, remote access, telenet and some other privacy killing features most PCs have as standard equipment. I connect to NOTHING wirelessly that I don't have to and I use appropriate protection when I do.
Like Dorothy said, nothing's foolproof but these strategies and the others in HTBI and on this site (and continued vigilance and willingness to change behaviors when necessary and as you learn what works to keep you safe and private) will deter all but the most determined stalker/investigator. But even THEY'D better have seriously deep pockets! (Or an aircraft like mine does.)
Here's what I did.
1) Got one prepaid cell phone number in name of pseudonym for which I can pay cash for monthly service fee. (If I tell you the carrier, I'll have to kill you!)
2) Got several numbers from Vumber.com, two for personal use, one I call "home" phone, the other "cell phone". No one is any the wiser. I give those two numbers to family and close friends and both are in another state from were I'm physically located. I have Vumbers for business and a couple for local calls to professionals whom I don't want questioning my out-of-state phone numbers. I don't raise suspicion that way.
3) I ONLY use the cell phone when calling out through Vumber and don't answer ANY call from a number I don't recognize. I don't tell anyone who my phone carrier is, either. Guess what? No one but me, the carrier (and Vumber) know the cell number so (a) no one can triangulate the phone by calling the number (which happened recently to me; so I switched carriers) or using carrier records because they know neither the number or carrier (b) the carrier's records only show calls to Vumber, not calls to anyone else, which are shown on my Vumber account only and (c) since it's nearly impossible to tell my phone number is from Vumber (and the ones I give out to family, friends, business associates, etc. are in nominee/pseudonym names), only spending loads of money, time and/or subpoenaing Vumber (if they DO figure out that my phone numbers are from Vumber) will reveal that. And, I can change the Vumber as often as I do my clothes, for FREE!
4) I called my carrier and had them turn off SMS (since there's a chance someone can send you a text message containing GPS tracking software that installs when you open the message and sending/receiving SMS messages ping the phone and locate me and provides my cell number to those receiving SMS from me). I also don't use the internet on my phone; I have a laptop for that and I use it as anonymously as possible.
If you need to be mobile while online, you can purchase a mini laptop (check out BestBuy and purchase cash) for that for under $300 and use an inexpensive, secure VPN service to surf the net and send email from wireless hotspots. (Carefully check the VPN's reputation, business practices, privacy policies, etc.) Nothing in your name there. But, if you use your home ISP, use the VPN to surf the net, send email, etc. ALWAYS remember to start the VPN BEFORE getting online and check to make sure you're using the VPN by going to a site like "whatismyip.com" and checking. Never use your work internet connection on that laptop. (The VPN account should be in the name of a pseudonym, paid for by an LLC/nominee bank card.)
Using VPNs is perfectly legitimate used for legally (otherwise, the VPN service WILL turn you over to law enforcement!) and can be explained by simply saying, "I'm concerned someone with nefarious intentions may locate me physically using my IP address so I use this to protect my identity and location. It's kinda like a condom for the internet." (Okay, crass, but that last line will usually end the conversation.)
And, no, Greg, you can't keep your same phone number and put it in the name of a nominee--unless you change your voice, too. That last part is why I used a pre-recorded voicemail message for my cell phone (since, even if callers use Vumber to call me, if I don't answer, it goes to my cell phone's voicemail, not my Vumber vmail.) Ask yourself whether you love that phone number or your privacy more. That should answer your question. Have a funeral for your old number (and, frankly, carrier since EVERYONE who knows you or knows about you knows who your carrier is!) and celebrate rebirth into privacy.
If I've missed or forgotten anything, somebody will be sure to tell me, I know!
Instead of informing all your Verizon "old number" callers of your new "cell #2" number, give them a Vumber number instead. Route the Vumber number to the nominee/anonymous cell #2 number or just let them leave voicemail, then call them back through Vumber, from a fourth phone if your purposes really demand that level of obscurity.
Nothing is really "perfect", IMHO, but the Vumber number in between is an extra layer of obfuscation (I just love that word, lol!)
There is one very large hole in your plan. As soon as you power up your cell phone #1, it's location is logged, and this information is retained. Unless you are super careful to NEVER use it near a place you actually go, then these periodic location blips will lead someone right to you. At a best case it will give away your true city.
A possible alternative is to anonymously get Voice over IP service from one of the many on line carriers and then forward it to an anonymous Trac phone. This allows you to easily switch numbers without having to change anything with the cell phone, as no one will ever need to know it's number. When you want to call someone and have their caller ID show your VoIP number (your public number), all you need to do is take a portable PC with wireless to a cafe offering free 802.11 WiFi service to make your calls. It's not very secure for outgoing calls without some sort of encrypted VPN tunnel, but it is very anonymous.
Marc, , Age: 44
In order to keep the number and lose the identifying data....
You might consider porting the number to a prepaid carrier. T-Mobile is fairly easy to port to; Page Plus is fairly easy to port to. The FCC requires 4 pieces of info for porting: Phone number to be ported, passcode if used, zip code of service, and "account number." The FCC also requires that carriers NOT require any MORE data than those 4 pieces to approve the "port-out". That means that Verizon can't resist porting out the number because you didn't provide your home address to the receiving cell provider.
The purpose of this kind of follows the intents of the "cell #1 and cell #2" concept - you port out the old longstanding Verizon number to a prepaid carrier (Page Plus, by the way, runs off Verizon's network, so if you get good Verizon coverage, your Page Plus coverage will be the same good coverage). THEN, you inform everybody who calls your old number that you have a new number. That new number (cell #2) will be the new Verizon blackberry account under a pseudonym/nominee's name with a ghost address. For extra layers of protection, you can "port out" cell #1 to different prepaid providers periodically, slightly altering the data each time to further obfuscate your true identity in the cell phone records.
Jordan, what you're missing is this: What happens if one of your "close friends" whom you trust implicitly becomes the target of an investigation? While cell #2 won't show up while investigating cell #1 (and you explained that part VERY well - thank you for giving me some new ideas!), cell #2 WILL show up if any of your friends are investigated. If you're leaving cell #2 powered on, then you're still at risk of being triangulated secondarily. Hope that made sense!
Dorothy, , Age: 40
I currently have a cell phone number ("cell #1") with my true name, SSN, and ghost address on file. Like you, I'd like to retain this number while still maximizing my privacy in the cell-phone sphere. This is my plan:
1) Maintain cell #1, but utilize it only for its voicemail - only power it on to check the voicemail, otherwise power it off and not have it on my person.
2) Obtain "cell #2" - a seperate account/number using a nominee. Only provide cell #2's number to a trusted few. Never check the cell #1 voicemail using cell #2. Pay the bill with money orders.
This plan would accomplish the following goals:
- I can use cell #1 as a public number, to use on forms or business cards, and to give to casual acquaintances, without revealing my true cell number. I can call from cell #1 where I want the recipient to know I'm calling, but don't want to reveal my real cell number. (This is not possible using the HTBI-suggested pager/cell phone combination, nor using cell phone & free online voicemail service combination. Though Vumber and similar services have features where the receipient's caller ID will display your Vumber number, rather than your true cell number, this still requires Vumber to have your true cell number on file - leaving it vulnerable to discovery via data breach or pretexting.)
- This plan will mis-lead anyone investigating my call history or trying to track my location by cell phone. An investigator will easily find my "cell #1" account, and may stop searching before finding cell #2. The investigator will find minimal call history for cell #1 (because I place/receive so few calls using cell #1), and will be unable to track my location using the phone's location (because cell #1 will generally be powered off, and almost never be on my person). The investigator will not be able to find cell #2 by looking at cell #1's call history, because neither cell will be used to call the other.
- Unlike the HTBI pager/cell combo, this plan allows me to continue my practice of communicating with close friends via SMS text messaging.
I'm trying to discover if there are any weaknesses in my plan. Obviously, I have to assume that SMS text messages will be stored for forever on SMS servers. And my location can still be traced should someone discover my cell #2. But so long as my cell #2 remains concealed, and so long as I am very careful about the content of my outgoing AND incoming SMS messages, I'm not aware of any other weaknesses in my plan. Anything I'm missing?
A car top carrier that locks is an excellent way of keeping nosy cops out of your belongings when traveling. Hard to get at and most have combination locks. The best way to deal with privacy during a traffic stop entails two principles.
Marc, , Age: 44
[Drake is apparently referring to the question, "Is there any way I can somehow re-do the registration/contract but keep the telephone number?" rather than the last question. -- JJL]
Not if you want to have privacy.
I've had cell phone service with Verizon for many, many years - since they were Ameritech. They have my real name, ssn and home address but the monthly bills are sent to my post office box. It really bothers me that they have this information about me. I would like to upgrade to a Blackberry. Is there any way I can somehow re-do the registration/contract but keep the telephone number? Is my only recourse to cancel the service, try to find a nominee and get a new telephone number?
Greg, , Age: 33
If you place income properties into a regular LLC and you then place this LLC into a revocable living trust will you have to file two income tax returns....one for the LLC and one for the trust?
Joe, , Age: 69
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