Monday, September 28, 2009

Should you be in fear of the trash truck drivers?

The following information has just been received from a reader of How to be Invisible:

“I know of one city that pays the trash truck drivers a cash bonus every time they report someone who is building or remodeling without a permit. If the drivers see any activity, they report the address to the permit office. If no permit has been issued for that address, the building inspector makes a visit. The trash truck drivers go to every house & business in the county once or twice a week, and any construction activity is easily noticed. Even swapping out an electric water heater, a very easy job, will get you busted if you toss the box & packaging out to the curb to be picked up.”

I don’t know how many cities pay cash bonuses to the trash drivers but I suspect they are encouraged to report ANY suspicious activity to Homeland Security.

Most of the drivers, of course, are just out to do their job and deserve our respect, but why not take care? What if a burglar is paying a bent driver to watch for empty cartons from computers, flat screen TVs, and home theater systems? (He can then target those homes for a visit!)

No, let’s not be in fear of the trash collectors (unless we’re doing some moonlight remodeling) but why not keep a low profile—especially with the holidays coming up—and dispose of our big boxes at some other location?

Monday, September 21, 2009

If you value your privacy, never buy your car from a dealer

All car dealers are out to get your private information but new car dealers are the worst. No matter that you are offering them top dollar and all cash, they still demand to see and copy your driver's license.

A few days ago I put a dealer in Seattle to the test because he had a low-mileage mint-condition 2006 Camry V6 XLE that my wife really wanted to buy.

"I will pay your asking price," I said, "and in cash. However, I value my privacy so this car will be titled in the name of a New Mexico limited liability company. I will sign as sole member but I will not show any identification other than the NM LLC documents. Do we have a deal?"

"No way!" was his firm answer. Many other readers of this blog have reported similar results. So what's the solution? How can you buy a car without revealing your true name? Here's the 1-2-3 answer:

1. Pick up a low-cost New Mexico LLC.

2. Buy a car from a private party.

3. Fill out the "Buyer" boxes on the title with the NM LLC name, and scribble a signature. If required to print your name, list the initial of your middle name and your last name.

When you show up at a licensing bureau or DMV, have everything filled out. When asked for ID, hand them them your passport (rather that your driver's license, which lists your address). In most states the clerks will merely glance at the name and the picture and hand you back your passport. The only name on the registration will be the name of the NM LLC.

Monday, September 14, 2009

How to activate a new credit card without revealing your e-mail address or telephone number

My wife has a VISA credit card in her initials and maiden name. All Wells Fargo has is an untraceable PO Box in another town. No e-mail address. No telephone number.

However, each time a new credit card arrives, this message is pasted across the front:

MUST activate your card NOW to begin using your
card. CALL 1-866-537-8424 from your
home phone.

Why do they insist she call from our home phone? To capture the number, of course. (There is also an option to activate the card by going to the bank's website but this would involve giving them her e-mail address and revealing her IP address--both a no-no)

So what's a person to do? Why, call from some other phone, of course. But do not use the telephone of any friend or relative because you do not want Wells Fargo to think you live there either, right? The easiest remedy--and one we use--is to wait until our next trip. Then we call Wells Fargo from our hotel room and thus activate the card.

Monday, September 7, 2009

How to hide your assets with a limited liability company

If you plan to order a limited liability company and you even remotely suspect that someday an enemy might try to track your company down, here's what to do:

1. Choose a state other than your own in which to form the company. New Mexico (unless you live there) is the absolute best because no annual information returns are required. Remember, a private investigator (PI) will first check the records in the state where you live. If your LLC does not show up there, he is then forced to search among the other 49 states. (His first three choices will probably be Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming, so it's better not to form a limited liability company in any of those states.)

2. When you title your home, car, truck, trailer, camper, motorcycle or snowmobile with an LLC, use a faraway ghost address. In fact, many states allow you to list an address in another country, which is why an address in Spain is offered on my website.

3. Use a generic name, i.e., a name so common that it is used in dozens of states. If you are looking at a list of shelf LLCs, for example, watch for names like NORTH STAR, BLUE MOON, or RED RIVER. Just imagine the problem a PI will have with a common name. There will be identically-named LLCs in dozens of states! Which one is yours? The PI will not have a clue, especially if you are using a faraway ghost address!

4. Last but far from least, use a separate LLC for each purchase. That way, if one of the bad guys discovers that your old Camry is listed in XYZ LLC, at least his subsequent search for that name will not bring up the LLCs that own your home, your boat, and your aircraft. (Shameful commercial pitch--contact me before the end of this month for the lowest-ever prices on New Mexico limited liability companies!)