The US State Department is now offering wallet-size "Passport Cards" to be used for non-air travel to Canada, Mexico, and certain Carribbean islands.
I've not yet seen one, but I assume that, at least on the face of it, the card provides similar info to the passport book (i.e. not much).
Applying for the Passport Card is also a way for those who had passports mailed to them at their actual home address (before embracing HTBI, of course) to re-direct the gov't as to our current whereabouts.
URL #1: http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html
Linda, , Age: 37
This story shows why it's critical to keep your personal information PRIVATE, mind your business, maintain a low profile and stay off social networking sites. If your work requires you to have a higher profile than usual (as mine does), do whatever you can to assure as much privacy as you can as well as all you can to be above reproach so if something like this happens, you character and reputation is already so well established that most people know the truth.
URL #1: http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/news/article-1030877/Facebook-ruined-life-web-hijackers-stole-ID-branded-prostitute.html#
Wendy, , Age: 44
In HTBI Mr. Luna recommends that everyone should use their passport as identification because it doesn't show your home address. Are there any other forms of identification that would be as good as a passport (non-drivers license, etc)? I only ask because a passport seems to be a little big (as far as ID's go) to be carrying around on a daily basis.
Ryan, , Age: 21
However, there is no valid reason for carrying it around "every day." (I do hope you are paying cash for everything. No checks, no credit cards, right?)
Adam...Florida will not let you gift a vehicle to an LLC. They consider it a sale and therefore tax is due. However, here is a way around it.
Register a lien on your vehicle from the LLC, wait 2 months then "reposess the vehicle". For about $50 you can get a new title in the name of the LLC. It works great.
However you will need to prepare a security agreement from the LLC and follow all the repo laws for disclosure.
I have used for several vehicles I owned and it works perfect.
From the story at the link below: "The nation's Medicare agency and the Pentagon compel at least 52 million Americans to carry their Social Security numbers in their wallets, contrary to warnings by the Federal Trade Commission that people should avoid doing so."
URL #1: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080702/ap_on_go_ot/risking_id_theft
Randy, , Age: 40s
PIN numbers not as secure as we think, according to the article below. I wonder if these ATMs were targeted because this is such a large, recognizable bank. If so, all the more reason to apply more HTBI advice--use smaller local (or even regional) banks that may not be as likely to be targets of this kind of ID theft.
URL #1: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080701/ap_on_hi_te/tec_atm_breach
Wendy, , Age: 44
Hey JJ Luna. I picked up your book, "How to Be Invisible" 3 years ago ... and it changed my life. Long story short, I got myself a ghost address, private cell phone and now I make money on the Internet and live my life REALLY SIMPLE.
If it wasn't for your "Skip College" book, I would've probably gone to college, got in debt and work at some miserable job to pay off the debt and get no where.
My recommend my friends How To Be Invisible (that title just sounds cool) and Skip College, because I think it rocks.
Oh yeah, are you writing any more ebooks? Please tell me :)
If you decide to use one of these SIMless phones, buy it anonymously, online (you can get them on eBay, NEW) and activate them by phone, using the other techniques I've described (e.g., pseudonym, ghost address and phone, etc.). Some allow you to pay cash monthly at carrier store so for maximum privacy, do that. If you decide to use a credit card or checking account, use one that doesn't have your true name and address, social security number, DOB, etc. associated. With CDMA phones, you'd have to buy more than one but if you wanted to avoid swapping SIMs in GSM phones, you'd have to buy two unlocked GSM phones, too.
Remember not to link your own name, address, etc. to these accounts by going online on these phones and logging into your own email, texting too many people known to be linked to you (since many databases now track affiliations to other people) and/or logging into your bank account, school website or corporate network. Maximum privacy means using cell phones primarily as phones.
This means when the iPhone comes out as a prepaid later this year, you probably don't want one. Too much temptation to give your true identity away by doing all of the things you'd do on your home computer on your iPhone. You still have to watch what you do on your cellphone as much as you do on your home computer, whether the phone's prepaid or not. One trip through customs with a phone where "questionable" content was viewed, received or downloaded and then discovered by customs officials will show you why. So, use ANY phone in your possession with care, prepaid or not or you'll destroy the very privacy you're trying to maintain.
Just wanted to point out a way to get private internet with no info given to the provider. Although they are small the sidekick phones have full internet abilities. You can go to just about any site. It doesn't handle frames to well though. It also has java on sk2. I don't know what the others has. The sidekick 2 and 3 has prepay available for a dollar a day. No info nead be given to have it. The surfing is pretty fast to.
pat, , Age: 30
[Edited for length] Your site is great. When will your book on avoiding driving a million miles without a crash be ready?
URL #1: www.edenpress.com
Andrea, , Age: 43
Randall, usually, unless the carrier has the phone's IMEI (or serial number, sometimes called something else by different carriers), which is usually linked to a specific SIM card making that phone usable with that SIM card, only, then the carrier can't tell that you're using the same phone with two SIMs. I've done this but it got to be a nuisance to swap out the SIM cards so I bought a second unlocked phone. I've used both SIM cards with both phones and the carrier...or anyone else...is none the wiser.
Keep in mind, though, that some phones have some features that others don't have and/or that are only available for use by a specific carrier so, if you use those features, the carrier may know what kind of phone you're using but not the serial number of the phone unless you provide it.
In order to have the most privacy, get the SIM separately from the phone (i.e., buy an unlocked cell phone online directly from the manufacturer, another online seller that's not a carrier site or even from someone else. (Just make sure the phone is or can be unlocked.) Then, go to an authorized carrier store and get just the SIM(s). Obviously, you should go to different stores for different SIMs. Again, use pseudonyms and ghost addresses and phone numbers to set up the account (and remember that information because you may need to provide it when you contact the carrier) and use separate bank accounts to pay for the service (if it's prepaid in advance) that don't have your true address, DOB and social security number associated with them to pay for the monthly fee OR pay cash, whenever possible, at a local carrier store. This way, you never have to reveal you serial numbers, that you have two SIMs and one phone, etc., since you pay for service based on the phone number.
Wendy (4439) and Jessica (4438)
Only GSM phones (AT&T, T-Mobile, Centennial) have SIM cards. Other carriers (Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, Virgin, Alltel) use CDMA and do NOT use SIM cards.
If you have an unlocked GSM phone, you can swap SIMs from different carriers at will.
CDMA phones are locked to a carrier and switching is a major problem. It isn't easy, quick or cheap. Either buy two phones or get GSM.
On a side note, many GSM phones work overseas.
Feel free to get a pre-paid SIM in one State and use it anywhere you want. You can even get a European SIM card from Switzerland (or elsewhere) and use it in the U.S. -- if you want to pay the roaming charges. :-)
Phone numbers in GSM networks are assigned to SIMs, not phones. If you have two SIMs, you have two phone numbers.
The phone has a unique IMEI, which when paired with a SIM ICCID/IMSI, gives a unique combination available to the network owner.
Restricting the IMEI is used to disable stolen phones. Restricting the IMSI is used to disable the SIM, regardless of the phone it is in.
If you're using ONE pre-paid phone with two SIM cards from the same carrier, can the carrier trace or tell that both phone numbers (SIM cards) are using the same phone?
Randall, , Age: 45
JJ, I am not sure if you have had a reader post something similar to this before, but a friend of mine in government was telling about the unprecedented powers that Fusion Centers have and operate under. He advised that several states have already passed laws that provide impunity to the workers at fusion centers from lawsuits and criminal prosecution and the data that is supplied to the fusion center is all volunteer and that businesses and corporations supply data concerning their business and employees secretly with federal, state, and local officials - mix it with the government and public data sources and use it to monitor citizens at a state level.
This to me sounds quite scary, as it appears to have little federal oversight and little state knowledge as to the type of data and the capabilities that these centers provide.
At a recent conference, when a DHS committee of Privacy Officers were asked who is accountable for these fusion centers, three different DHS privacy officers supplied three different answers - their response did not instill any faith that any were correct to attendees at the legal conference.
It would be great to hear from any center employees about exactly what operations go one beyond their doors.
URL #1: http://www.aclu.org/privacy/gen/fusion_map/
Internet cafés are not necessarily safe, but can be if you take precautions.
Bring your own laptop PC and an IronKey thumb drive in which to keep your passwords. (I like to use a copy of Password Safe that I keep on my IronKey -- just because I have been using it for awhile and I have hundreds of random passwords for different Web sites stored in the Password Safe file. But you could use the IronKey's own little password manager program.)
I like to encrypt my laptop's entire disk drive with TrueCrypt, but this might be overkill -- it's primarily a defense against the laptop's being stolen: with the entire drive encrypted, any data on the drive is safe from the bad guys.
Run the Mozilla Firefox browser that comes installed on the IronKey, and use the IronKey's TOR (The Onion Router) feature to encrypt your connection to the Internet and disguise the location from which you are browsing. That way, anyone tapping into the WiFi network at the café will see only highly-encrypted gibberish.
The Internet cafés that I have used include the Wi-Fi Internet connection in the price of the coffee. But, if asked for a credit card, I would use a prepaid debit card such as those available from NetSpend -- without too much money stored in the card.
After taking those precautions, I would be confident about using an Internet café.
URL #1: http://www.ironkey.com
The number of data brokers and the extent to which our private lives are mined by advertisers is simply astounding! Another reason to operate under an alternate name (or two) in the wider world! As Mr. Luna points out in HTBI, it's perfectly legal to do so (Chapter 9 pg 112), as long as you don't have any intent to defraud.
Linda, , Age: 36
Are "internet cafe's" safe to use? Would I have to give personal information to be able to get online? There is one accross town from where I am and I would like to surf with privacy.
Mike, , Age: 29
Here's a quick look at some of the big data collectors
URL #1: http://www.forbes.com/technology/2008/05/14/profit-from-data-tech-security08-cx_ag_0514profit_slide.html
Larry, , Age: 53
...The Patriot Act, zealous U. S. Customs and TSA officials and a Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling giving a green light to warrantless searches and seizures has made traveling with a laptop very difficult. And if you carry sensitive data on that laptop these days, you're a fool.
The Baltimore Sun reports that U. S. Customs officials are routinely seizing 5-10% of the laptop s brought back in to the country by U. S. citizens returning home after international travel. There's no warrant or reasonable cause, just a program to radomnly expropriate laptops and keep them for 2 weeks or longer for "random inspection of electronic media." The "program," in effect for the last few years, is also being applied to digital cameras, cell phones and PDAs.
URL #1: http://www.ohmproject.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=69&Itemid=1
Jessica, as long as you can get prepaid phones with text messaging service, you can get them from anyplace you want, as long as the carriers offer service in your area. Certainly, it's perfectly legal to have cell phones with different area codes from your physical location. Think of people you know who've moved to other states and kept their cell phones from their old state of residence for a time. Several people I know did just that so, it's fairly common. If you're thinking of having one phone with two SIM cards from two different carriers with different area codes, just make sure your phone is completely unlocked AND accepts SIM cards from the carriers you want to use. (Some carriers are on the GSM network, for example, and others are not. BOTH SIM cards have to be on carriers on the GSM network if you use ONE on that network or they won't work OR should both be on a non-GSM network if one is and your phone should either be GSM or not.) I hope this answers your question.
Wendy, , Age: 43
can someone living in say NC and have a prepaid phone or prepaid card with a # in GA still living in NC and text with that prepaid phone or card??? or could they have one phone say with sprint with a NC # and have that same phone with a GA # and text from the GA number by a prepaid card....(keepin the same phone and have 2 #s to it? with one # having a prepaid card or some thing like that)
Jessica , , Age: 29
The below article appeared on the Denver Post web site on June 29. You never know who will be looking and what will alert them. This is especially disturbing since many of the behaviors that may attract attention are relitively innocuous and might be engaged in by privacy minded individuals.
URL #1: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_9732641
Greg, , Age: 43
Read your book several times from front to back, really love it.
After reading everything I have decided to move (currently live in California but moving out soon).
I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for places to move to (maybe a particular state or city?) which will make it easier to live a more private life (ex. not so strict on requiring a social, people in general are less nosey and mind their own business, etc..)
From the article:
"Data from more than 450 federalized airports and 19,000 general aviation airfields feed into the Watch Floor." Basically, if a screener doesn’t like the way you look, talk, or pack your suitcase, someone on the Watch Floor hears about it.
URL #1: http://www.lewrockwell.com/akers/akers87.html
Mark, , Age: 32
As Sebastian said in #4145, "The GPS jammer, even though it is sold in the US, is still illegal." Indeed, the feds (FCC) are cracking down on David Steele Enterprises, the vendor referenced in #4139.
"The company admitted selling 67 GPS Jammers.... The FCC stated that the purpose of the jammer device - blocking or interfering with radio communications - is clearly prohibited, and threatened fines of up to $11,000 per device sold."
URL #1: http://sidt.gpsworld.com/gpssidt/Latest+News/National-Space-Symposium-Day-3-OCX-and-GPS-III/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/525875
I suspect that the company then had to turn over the names and addresses of all the buyers.
URL #1: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/career/?p=341
Sean, , Age: 41
[Edited for length] I picked my truck today at an out-of-town dealership. I also bought insurance without any hassle. I made all the truck purchase arrangements in advance with the Fleet Sales Mgr. Because I was a "business", no drivers license was required. A local insurance agent representing GEICO kept everything in the name of the LLC except for the payout identifying me as the recipient of any checks they generate. My insurance card does not have my name on it.
Bill, , Age: 55
Yes, I was referring to a homeless person (or, really, anybody) who doesn't plan to get a library card and could use $50 (or $25 or $100 or whatever it would take). Actually, the only thing a nominee gets you is potentially a person who has an ID (hopefully) with an address in your town and isn't you. The library might accept your story if you claim to be homeless but live in town and look the part.
I should reiterate, by the way, that at both King County and Seattle libraries (they are two different systems), you never need to present a library card or ID, ever. All you need is your card number and PIN. If they have material on hold for you and that material is stored behind the desk (as it often is for DVDs, for example), you just tell them your name and they hand it to you. I've had this happen literally hundreds of times and they've never once asked me for my card or ID. The point here is that the ID hurdle occurs only at sign-up (at least around here), and you potentially could use somebody else's number.
Thanks to folks for your library card suggestions.
My primary motivtion for seeking an "HTBI-compliant" library card is to eliminate the possibility that someone could locate my actual or approximate physical location through my library card record. I imagine this is one of the easy ways for a PI or stalker to track someone down or at least to narrow the area of their search.
For me, the fact that there would be no book or video borrowing records under my name is a secondary benefit. I am committed to having free public libraries for the use of all, and to that end, fully intend to return all books and other borrowed materials by the due dates.
That said, after several attempts, I was successful in obtaining a library card in an alternate name without using a nominee and without presenting identification documents! I think the key to my success this time were being professionally dressed and groomed, going to a branch in a more upscale neighborhood, and submitting the initial application on-line. I think all of these things indicated to the clerk that I probably wasn't a big risk for material losses.
Our main library and some of the inner city branches where I had tried before are used to dealing with sketchy people and I was dressing down to blend in with my cover story, so I think the clerks may have been more suspicious in nature and REQUIRED documentation of identity and residence.
In order to secure the alternate identity, it would still be nice to obtain some high-quality photo identification and perhaps a credit card in the alternate name (with absolutely no intent to defraud or perform illegal acts, of course). Any LEGAL suggestions to this end are appreciated...
[Edited for length] JJ, It looks like all that people hear about Canada's Privacy does not appear to be true. This past week, a Canadian law was passed requiring a great deal of personal buyer information to be supplied for real estate transactions.
URL #1: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080623/realtor_restrictions_AM_080623/20080623?hub=CTVNewsAt11
Michael, , Age: 37
[Edited] Please do not pay a homeless person to give you their library card. They need their cards. If you think they do not use their cards, you are wrong!
Meriel, , Age: 43
It seems many Car Dealerships have unsavory practices of attempting to obtain private information from their customers, even if they're paying the full purchase price, without taking any kind of loan.
URL #1: http://lornamatic.com/wordpress/2007/03/17/141/
Sonny, , Age: 37
1. I will pay cash.
2. I will buy from a private party.
3. I will use an LLC.
4. I will use a faraway ghost address.
Re Adam and auto sales tax:
... My experience is based on just one state, Ohio. But the auto sales tax here is always based on the sales price, not on book value. Now, maybe Florida is different, or maybe that book value based tax only kicks in when an auto is declared a gift.
Larry, , Age: 52
I was near the end of a new pickup purchase at a local dealership when the "sales Mgr" asked to see my drivers license "for their records". No financing. I was paying with a cashiers check (w/out my name on it) from a local Credit Union. He told me it was "an Oregon law". When I asked for a copy, he faltered.
As I stood up and gathered my things to leave, I smiled and told him he was lying for you don't have to have a license to buy a car. Seems like "everybody wants to get into the (homeland security) act".
I am now buying from another dealer out of town with (my security) arrangements made well in advance.
Also, in Oregon, landlords are not allowed to accept rent in advance. They can only accept security deposits. So I once set up an escrow account that satisfied the concerns of my landlord and paid my rent. It was well worth the small escrow fee to keep my SSN and real name out of it.
I know that the local library guards privacy. I also know that the software that tracks checked books does not leave a record after the books are returned and/or fines are paid. As for being noticed, sometimes when I'm in the library, the reference people will sometimes refer a reference question to me when it is especially technical.
Sebastian, , Age: 58
At the risk of beating this topic to death...
Linda of San Francisco was the one who asked this question. It applies most directly to her but may work elsewhere.
First off, San Francisco is a sanctuary city. They give IDs to illegal aliens. Although you presumably speak English as a native language and are of European descent, that doesn't mean you're not an illegal alien. Tell them you're a refugee and get a City of San Francisco-issued ID (in an alternate name, of course). I'm serious!
You also could claim you're homeless and therefore don't have an ID or an address. That might effectively get you the same thing.
Finally, you could just seek out a real homeless person as a nominee, offer them $50 and have them get you a card.
Regarding others' advice to avoid political books, etc.: I don't know how it works in San Francisco, but up here at the Seattle and King County libraries (I have accounts at both), (a) they never ask for ID once you have a card, even for materials held behind their desk, and (b) they strenuously resist intrusions on privacy (and who cares if it's not in your name anyway). There was an incident in King County of a man looking at child porn at a King County library a few years back and there was a controversy because other library patrons complained (RIGHTLY!) and they didn't even tell the man to knock it off!
I think someone visiting a library for several days in a row would get noticed. At the library nearest my home they have a table with a machine for self checkout for books, so you could use another (or even fake) card/tag. Please use common sense though.
Some of the rules I just made up for a secure computer are Don't run MS Windows, Don't run anything except computer administration tasks as the administrator (or root), Don't run crap off the Internet, don't allow anyone you don't trust to use (or tinker with) your computer, put your data on an encypted flash drive and don't leave it in or next to the machine, put something (like a firewall or NAT box) between your machine and the Internet and check the thing for stuff you didn't add.
I'm sure there are other points but those cover most of the basics. Oh yeah, read appropriate books, I don't think the movie is coming out anytime soon.
I have a strange feeling that your problem with renting an apartment without an SSN has to do with your location. I've always associated Utah with being very conservative. Minneapolis has two factors which makes thing easier in the SSN department- very high college student and IMMIGRANT (Somali, Mexican, and Hmong) populations. It's easier to rent without a SSN especially if you're paying a half-year in advance. I usually either roommate with good friends or stay with girlfriends so I don't usually get on the lease anyhow. I just pay my rent and no one bothers me.
Daniel, , Age: 36
If there is not going to be a credit check, go ahead and give the landlord an "SSN" - just not a real one. That gives everyone peace of mind: the landlord because they think they have your SSN, and you because you know they don't.
Everett, , Age: 56
I am doing the title transfer to LLC in Florida. Clear title with no liens. Transfer to LLC as a "gift", no charge, no sale. The agent tells me that a sales tax is due on NADA book value before title will transfer. This sounds like bull. Anyone have advice or additional reference I can cite to the robotic witch behind the counter. This is going to cost me an extra $1000 otherwise. Thanks.
URL #1: http://www.flhsmv.gov/
Adam, , Age: 32
I understand your frustration because I have been there. It can be very difficult; but it is NOT impossible. My most successful "trick" has been to say that I am Canadian, and thusly do not have a SSN. What matters most is how you carry yourself, dress, speak, confidence. Avoid apartment complexes as most are run by agencies who are basically robots. Check Craigslist for homes or duplexes being rented by the property owner. You are right that its not easy, but I assure you having done so three times in three different states over the past 2 years, it IS possible.
Adam, , Age: 32
Maybe it's just my computer and I don't know about anyone else whose tried it, but when I tried to install Jay's suggested anti-keylogger software, I got the dreaded blue screen of death. Any suggestions?
Wendy, , Age: 44
Why not just go to the library and read the book while you're there? If you can't find it, ask someone at the circulation desk where it is and go to that library to read it. No one will ever know your name, not even your fake name.
Austin, , Age: 34
I have my NM LLC from Kitty and am prepared to transfer my 3 cars per your book. Do you think I would be better advised to do one car at a time, a day apart, or go ahead with all 3 at once? I don't want to garner undue attention from the agent.
Adam, , Age: 32
We read in How to Be Invisible that it is possible to rent an apartment without giving out your ssn; however, we are finding this nearly impossible (actually, it is impossible). Even offering to pay six months in advance does not work. We explain to people that we don't want to give out the numbers because of identity theft. We tell them we are willing to provide them current copies of our credit reports, police reports, and are willing to pay up to six months (cash)in advance if necesary, and the morons still won't do it. I work for the federal government and had to have a background check to be hired. We offer to let them talk to my employer and our current landlord (we've been here for 11 years, and always paid on time). There does not seem to be any way around this. We refuse to give out our ssns, but apparently we're going to have to be stuck where we are now forever, where they don't fix anything and are now wanting us to sign a lease, when we've been here for 11 years. What are we supposed to do to keep our privacy??
Annabelle, , Age: 37
Perhaps some of you readers would care to comment, or offer a suggestion?
a close and trusted friend has agreed to buy my auto, insure it in his name, and list me as the primary driver. is this essentially the same as a nominee relationship? how invisible does this make me on ownership and insurance?
leonard, , Age: 35
Courtesy of LifeHacker: a web browser add-on that scrambles your keystrokes as you type them, but descrambles them so that the application receives them correctly. That's what the free download does; there are for-pay versions that work with Microsoft Office apps.
URL #1: http://www.qfxsoftware.com/products.htm#personal
Jay, , Age: 51
Link to an interesting article outlining a mainstream companies inclusion of red light camera locations in their products. These could be of use to avoid being caught in an area where you do not want your presence noted.
URL #1: http://www.newsweek.com/id/142634>1=43001
Greg, , Age: 43
If you can't use a nominee (I use mine in another state to check out books and send them to me; it costs more but it's private for me), find out if your local library offers business accounts and [what] the application criteria are. (Some libraries in my area offer these.) Then, see if you can get an account in the name of an LLC and have the cards mailed to you. If you're asked for ID, show your passport but give either the ghost address of the LLC (it will probably have to be a local address) or a ghost address and phone number for yourself. Make SURE the library can mail you info so you don't have problems from mail being returned undeliverable on your library account. Return or renew books in a timely manner and, when you don't, keep your fines paid. In conservative areas of the country, don't make a big deal of controversial books (say you're doing research, if asked, but don't check out porn*, books on committing crimes or anything remotely close) and don't act nervous anyplace. Follow these rules, and you should be fine AND maintain your privacy at the library without providing flagrantly false information to a government/public agency.
Wendy, , Age: 44
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