As readers of How to Be Invisible already know, you should never accept mail at your true home address. Routine mail can be received in a post office box and sensitive mail can arrive at a faraway ghost address.
However, some companies irritatingly refuse to ship to a PO Box. (I just did battle with Goes Litho from Chicago about this. They finally relented when I offered to pay extra to have bordered bond paper sent to my PO Box.) But what if the company refuses to budge and yet you are determined to keep your home address a secret?
You can try another supplier. If that does not work, you may think about using the address of a relative or friend. However, that may present a serious loss of privacy. Here is a recent example (names have been disguised):
Burnett Williams, recently retired, sold his home where he had lived for 30 years and moved from Montana to a secret address in Arizona. Given the way the Federal Reserve is currently printing money by the trainload, he feared that a serious devaluation was coming within two years, so what to do with all the cash?
After checking with some knowledgeable friends, he decided to put 20 percent of it into silver bullion. The immediate problem he faced was that silver bullion is heavy and is usually shipped only by UPS. UPS keeps an international database with the address of every shipper and every receiver. Once your address gets into their system, it never gets out.
Williams was not about to let any neighbor or friend accept this shipment on his behalf because the contents (given the shipper’s business name and the weight) would be obvious. End of privacy! He therefore gave the following name and address to the supplier. (This is the address of a UPS Customer Center. Note that he did not give them his distinctive first name.)
ATTENTION — HOLD
1975 E. Wildermuth
Tempe, AZ 85281
When he picked up the shipment he used his passport for ID, since passports never include an address. And if anyone googles “B. Williams,” some 641,000 results will show up!
That is how you too can protect your secret home address when a supplier insists on shipping via UPS.