Monday, November 30, 2009

How to increase security with a cheap strip-shredder

A few days ago I sent out a mass e-mail to those on my privacy list, warning my readers that strip shredders may not be as secure as they thought. This is because some PIs are now hiring retired persons to put the strips together using a special clipboard tool. (My instructions were to never shred just one or two pieces of important paper—these might be fairly easy to reassemble. Better to shred a number of other unimportant sheets as well and then mix the shredded material all up. Dump half in this week’s trash and the other half next week.)

I received some interesting responses. Here’s a dandy from Laurel from Redondo Beach, California:

“My brother-in-law was hired along with a bunch of other people to ‘spy’ on a certain company that was doing ‘backward’ activities. This company was located in a building with other businesses. My brother-in-law law said that his boss leased a suite next door to the ‘suspect’ company, in another name of course, and set up surveillance. His boss also put together a cleaning bid on the entire building for a made-up cleaning company. The bid was so low that it out bid all the other applicants for the job. They were hired! They took out the trash and cleaned EVERY office in the building just so they could collect the trash from that one office. They had the key to the office now!

“They tapped the phones and put microphones all around the office. They collected all the shredding as well as the regular trash … then they pieced together all the
shredding. Yes, they did do this! They had pages and pages and pages of this.
Eventually they had enough evidence to get them shut down and put in jail.

“On another note—my mom and I took our own shredding to the local park and burned it in the barbecues along with charcoal. We would bring hot dogs and roast weenies while putting handfuls of shredding in the fire. We would do this on days when no one would be there. When we were asked by the park worker why there was so much smoke we told him that we had brought some fire wood and that some of it must have been wet or still green…. I eventually bought a fire pit for my back yard and we burned the shredding there, careful to not create too much smoke to alarm the neighbors.

“Another GREAT thing you can do with it is pour water in the shredding bag before throwing it away. You can't piece together soaking wet paper. It turns to mush. You can also throw in your coffee grounds and then some to make sure it discolors and possibly starts to mold. LOL!”

And here’s another response, from Hamlet in Washougal, WA. A warning for us all!

“My mother (bless her soul) once shredded an important medical receipt. Upon discovering her mistake, she took the pieces and, while watching the Larry King show, put the puzzle back together. She was so proud of her work when she finished!”

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why licensing your car with a New Mexico LLC plus a faraway ghost address may save you some serious grief ...

The following quote is from Duncan Long’s book Protect Your Privacy:

“According to the FBI, a Washington, D.C police officer was attempting to extort $10,000 from a married man who had visited a gay bar. The officer had apparently employed a law-enforcement computer system to identify automobile license plates of cars that had been recorded as being outside the bar, and then linked the plates to the names and addresses of the vehicles. He then cross-referenced to see if the men were married, and if they were, he attempted to extort money from them. According to the FBI, the officer threatened to send photos showing the men at the bar to wives and employers if the victims didn’t cough up silence money.”

You may never visit a gay bar but think of the many other dangers of allowing your name (and sometimes even your home address!) to appear on your vehicle’s registration. Just one example: You innocently park in front of a home known to harbor a meth lab. You may get a visit from the police. Or perhaps the home is a so-called safe house for a Muslim terrorist cell. You may get a visit from the FBI. Or suppose the home is that of women who’s being stalked by her insanely jealous ex-husband—you might even get beaten up!

Each of our five vehicles is titled in a separate New Mexico LLC. The address for each New Mexico LLC is in Spain’s Canary Islands. We often lend our vehicles to friends. What if one of these friends would happen to park in front of the wrong home or the wrong bar? As Alfred E. Neuman would say, “What? Me worry?”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Will ObamaCare mark the end of privacy?

No one yet knows if or when Obama will get a bill passed that will require all Americans to have health insurance. If this does come to pass, however, it may be the first step down the slippery slope of the lack of privacy in Europe.

“Here in Europe," says my informant in Zurich, "we have socialized medicine. This is very good when you are sick. But when you wish to hide? It’s not so special. Socialized medicine means that each government agency in your country must track everything about you from where you live to your bank account balances.”

I asked him if it was possible to list some address on the insurance card other than where you live.

“You must prove that your address is being lived in (bedroom, closets with your possessions, kitchen where you eat, etc). This address cannot be a friend’s home because you must furnish a rental agreement and authorities will then make a personal visit to check you out. (A couple of Serbian basketball players Switzerland were expelled from Switzerland for not giving an accurate address.)”

Will these draconian measures eventually reach the shores of North America? I don’t know. But am I worried? As Sarah Palin would say, “You betcha!”

Monday, November 9, 2009

How to obtain a secret bank account

The following quote is from Elsy in New York. She sent it to me as a post on the Q&A page of my forum (#6660). This was such an ingenious solution that I am passing it on to readers of this blog.

"I purchased Invisible Money when it first came out. A friend was in trouble with the IRS and could not deposit his money in his own bank until he could work out a payment plan with the IRS.

"In Invisible Money Mr Luna discusses older bank accounts. We brainstormed and came up with several ways to acquire an old bank account. My friend started looking for businesses for sale at dirt cheap prices. He really did not want the business, he wanted the business bank account. He found a one-man lawn service business looking to sell his client list.

"He purchased the business (client list) for approximately $3000. Included in the purchase was the business bank account which was opened in 1966. No social security number attached. Just a tax ID number.

"He sold the business client list for his purchased price minus the bank accounts."

Monday, November 2, 2009

How to Avoid Danger from a Stranger at the Door (Part II)

Be aware of the tricks some rapists and crooks use to get you to open your door.

1. You hear a noise from the water lines, and realize someone has opened the outdoor faucet. Do not go out to turn it off!

2. Loud knocking, followed by "There's been an accident--I need to use your phone!" Call 911.

3. You hear a baby crying, either at the front door or below your bedroom window. This is a recording, designed to get you to come outside. Don't do it! Call the police.

And by the way, if you do not already have a door jammer, pick one up at any major hardware store. Brace the front door whenever you are not using it.