Monday, December 28, 2009

How to hide your identity when you move

A common complaint from readers of How to Be Invisible is that when they move to a new location, neighbors start asking them their name and where they work.

1. Alter your name to hide your identity

Keep your first name but change your last name just enough so the neighbors cannot Google you. It’s best if the name rhymes so that if a neighbor later learns your true identity, you can explain that he may have misunderstood when you previously gave him your name.
Examples: Change Benson to Jensen, Hernandez to Fernandez, Martin to Barton, Ryan to Brian, Crosby to Cosby, Dawson to Lawson, and O’Reilly to Reilly or Smiley.
If that doesn’t work, perhaps you can use your middle name as your last name. This works well with using a passport as ID because the first and middle names are on the same line, with the last name below. More than once I’ve had persons glance at my passport and think my middle name was my last name.

2. Be vague about where you work to hide your identity.

The best choice here is to indicate you work for yourself in some obscure niche that no one will question further. However, if you leave and return each day at a given time, you may need to give a specific answer. I have a friend who says he works for the IRS. That usually ends any questions about his job.

Monday, December 21, 2009

“Why and how should I change my name?”

There are many reasons why you might wish to change your name but the three main reasons are privacy, privacy and privacy.

One example is when you have an unusual first or last name. Even worse is when both names are unusual. If you run your first and last names on Google and come up with only one or two persons besides you, you can be tracked down in a heartbeat.

Another example is when you have a somewhat more common name but when combined with a city and state, unfavorable references about you will come up on the computer screen.

The easiest way to change your name is to just do it, without benefit of a legal name change. However, if you need to have your name change show up on your passport and your driver’s license, then a legal name change will be necessary. My suggestion is to pick four common names. Where possible, the second and third names should be names that are used both as first names and as surnames. Example:

James Martin Lee Williams.

Then, in addition to using Williams as a last name, you might also sometimes list yourself as James Martin, James Lee, Martin Lee, or even James M. Lee.

(The above information about changing your name is taken in part from How to be Invisible, Chapter 9, “Your Alternate Names and Signatures.”)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tiger Woods’ cell phone records: Privacy NOT!

The fact that Tiger Woods was even using his normal cell phone (that his wife had access to) was beyond dumb, it was stupidity personified—as was the apparent serial adultery.

Lesson learned: The fact that you are brilliant in one field does not mean you are playing with a full deck in a different field. In the case of Tiger Woods, a cell phone address list was his downfall. But in another case—this one from Anacortes, Washington—forgetfulness was what brought down Garrison Chase Colby, 39, who professed to be a devout Mormon.

He forgot to go through the pockets of his suit before he sent it to the cleaners. In that suit was his wallet.

According to the December 11, 2009 edition of the Skagit Valley Herald, “An employee at the cleaners opened the wallet and discovered a handful of identification cards. All had different names but all had the same photo—[Colby]. She called the police.”

Colby now sits in jail, facing numerous charged related to his past. As for the famous golfer, he does not face jail time but Tiger Woods’ cell phone records do remind us, at the very least, not to allow any secret telephone numbers to be in our every-day cell phones. And Garrison Chase Colby’s arrest reminds us that it is always best to go through the pockets before sending clothing to the cleaners.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How to hide your identity and protect your privacy

The absolute best way to hide your identity and protect your privacy is to use a nominee. A nominee is someone who acts on your behalf. For example:

1. To hide your identity with a bank, you have nominee Sally open a bank account under her own name, using her SSN but giving the bank your ghost address along with an untraceable phone number. She then signs a stack of checks and gives them all to you. From that moment on, you have total control of the bank account and can use it to mail in deposits and write checks. In fact, the bank can be in some state across the country from where you really live.

2. To hide your identity when renting a storage unit, you have nominee Ricardo rent the unit in the name of a New Mexico LLC. Ricardo signs the contract as owner of the company. He then gives you the key to the unit along with a bill of sale showing he sold the LLC to you. (Date this bill of sale sometime after the rental date.)

3. To hide your identity when ordering cable television, use nominee Pedro when you call in the order. Have Pedro on hand when the installer comes. He will be the one who signs the contract. You will have thus hidden your identity from PIs who often start any search with an informant inside the local cable company!

In my book How to be Invisible, there is a complete chapter on the use of nominees. Other chapters deal with ghost addresses and LLCs from New Mexico. To encourage you to order this book, I am making the following offer, valid until December 31, 2009.

Order a new How to be Invisible book on and send Amazon's e-mail confirmation to me at JJL [at} I will then send you a free copy of my e-report How to Locate a Trustworthy Nominee.

IN ADDITION, I will also offer you serious discounts on both New Mexico LLCs, and ghost addresses in Canada, Alaska or Spain. These discounts will be valid until December 31, 2009. You may end up saving over $200, and all for the price of a book you should buy anyway, even without the incentives!

If you already have the book, why not order it for a friend? What better gift could you give him or her for less than twenty bucks?