Monday, February 23, 2009

Never hide your cash in the master bedroom

One of the essentials in maintaining your privacy is to pay cash at the gas station, the supermarket, and when you go shopping at the mall. To do this, you must keep a fair amount of cash on hand. But where should you keep it?

There is no such thing as a burglar-proof home that cannot be entered, nor is there a security system that cannot be bypassed. However, the average burglar will be inside your home for less than ten minutes. Your goal, therefore, is to keep your cash hidden for more than that length of time.

The burglar will head straight for your master bedroom. He’ll check your underwear drawer, then your other drawers, and he’ll look under your mattress. If he can find some cash in any of these places, he may just grab that and run. If you can afford it, therefore, leave a few hundred dollars under the mattress.

Otherwise, the burglar will next check your refrigerator and your freezer so don’t keep any “cold” cash in either place.

Instead, if you have a file cabinet, use one or more of the file folders for holding the cash. Title them with dull names such as “old tax receipts” or “travel brochures.” Or, if you have a library, use a box cutter to cut the center out of some book you no longer want. (Outdated computer books or AAA travel books are ideal for this.) Put your money inside and then mix the book with others in your bookcase. My favorite method, however, is to use one or more “can safes” that are available on the Internet. One of our Canary Islands friends keeps half a dozen such cans. She scatters them under her sink, in her pantry, and among a box of bug-spray cans in her garage.

Many additional ideas for hiding money are included in the e-book Invisible Money, Low-Profile Banking, Private Investing.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How to get your prescription filled in another name

The problem with prescriptions is that you lose your privacy when the pharmacist enters your name, address and telephone number into a database.

Step one. Tell the doctor to make your prescription out in your first initial and last name. Only once have I had a problem with this. When I got out to my car, I noticed that—despite my instructions—the doctor had nevertheless included my first name. I returned to the office, showed the prescription to the nurse at the counter, and said, “Doctor Jones told me he would make this to J. Luna but I see he forgot, and put in my first name. Please have him write it again to just J. Luna.” She disappeared into the back, and returned within minutes with the new prescription.

Step two: Select a new first name, one that begins with the same initial. For example, if your name is Dale Martin and your prescription reads D. Martin, you can use another name such as Dalton, Davis, Dean, Denton, Dick, Drake, or Dudley.

Step three: Choose a new address, phone number, and a new date of birth to go along with the new name.

Step four: Order your prescription at a pharmacy where you have never been before. For maximum security, prepare a business card on your computer with a foreign address and phone number. One of my consulting clients has business cards made up in a variation of his name, with an address in Spain’s Canary Islands. (The address is legitimate because he has a ghost address that is available on my website.) When a pharmacist sees the address, he or she usually just enters “Spain” and skips the telephone number.

Once you’ve gotten a prescription this way, you have two choices for the next time you need one filled. You can go back to the same place, use the same data (show the label on your previous bottle), and be prepared with an answer to a question such as “Oh, I see you are visiting again from …” Or, you can choose another first name, another date of birth, another address and phone number, and go to a different pharmacy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The good news about losing your home

“You may not realize it when it happens,” wrote Walt Disney, “but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” But how could losing your home be good news? Let me count the ways:

1. RELIEF. No more back-breaking mortgage payments. No more taxes, no more upkeep, no more being locked into the burden of long-term debt. All you have to pay now is rent.

2. FREEDOM. Suppose you are renting from month to month, and an obnoxious family moves in next door, or if drug dealers start dealing in your area, or if a nearby barking dog keeps you awake at night. You just move!

3. PRIVACY. If you have been getting mail and deliveries at home, or if your home address is listed in databases, or if it appears on your driver’s license, your only solution will be to move—and then follow the principles outlined in How to Be Invisible. Although most readers can see the wisdom of this, they usually feel that selling their home and moving to another location is too great a sacrifice. But if your home is repossessed, why, here’s your chance for true privacy at last!

Monday, February 2, 2009

This $20 unit will put any burglar on the run!

The authority for the above statement comes from Jack MacLean, an electronics genius with an IQ of 167 and the author of Secrets of a Superthief (Berkeley Books, 1983). Before he went to prison, he was responsible for hundreds of burglaries that netted him 133 million dollars worth of jewels.

MacLean interviewed 300 other burglars during his years in prison and included their answers in his amazing book. He asked them such questions as how they chose which homes to burgle, how they broke in, whether or not they cut the phone lines in advance, and what might scare them into calling off the job. Here is one of the questions in the book:

“If you had cut the phone lines of a resident you were burglarizing and at some point heard from inside that same residence, coming from the window, an extremely loud horn, what would you do?”

“Ready for this?” asks MacLean. “One hundred percent said they’d be gone in a second.” (The actual answers were cruder but the author preferred not to print them.)

To obtain an “extremely loud horn,” pick up a portable air horn at any marine supply store or order it on Be sure to get one that sells for about 20 dollars, because the $10 ones are not as loud (Other deterrents to burglars are outlined in my e-book Invisible Money but for the budget-minded, a portable air horn should do the job.)