Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to hide your home address when you are unable to move

The only sure way to hide your home address is, of course, to move. But what if you are unable to do so, at least for the next few years?

The solution that follows is not perfect. It will not work if you live in a small town where most people know you. In a large city, however, you may be able to convince most of the people most of the time that you no longer live at your present home address. To accomplish this, you will need two things: a ghost address and a nominee.

The ghost address:

Decide where you wish to have others think you moved to. This can be a local ghost address on the other side of your city, an address in Alaska, or even an address overseas.

The nominee:

Although obtaining a nominee for a bank account is both difficult and risky, obtaining a nominee for all other services may be much easier. Let’s say your nominee’s name is Joe Johnson. Your goal is to appear that you still own your home but that you have leased it to Joe Johnson and moved away.

Have Joe sign a contract to lease your home for x number of years. He will then have all utilities, cable TV, Internet connections and telephone transferred to his name.

You, for your part, will have mail forwarded to a ghost address. You will also give your “new” address to your banker, accountant, dentist, doctor, and so on.

Post a sign on the your home saying “The Joe Johnson Family.” If someone comes to your door that you are not expecting, do not open it.


One of my friends is single, likes to travel, and will be free to do so by the end of September. He has expressed interest in acting as a nominee (bank accounts excepted), but only if there is a steady demand for such a service. If you might consider using his services later this year, please contact Rosie for details. [senorita at canary islands press dot com]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If you flee for your life, try Thailand

At least that’s what one of my readers, Jim, suggests. Some time back, a biker gang attacked Jim in a bar where he worked. He spent most of the next week lying in a motel room with one eye swelled shut and a pistol in his hand.

Then,” he says, “I decided to use my misfortune as a reason to fulfill my dream of seeing the world.”

He fled to Thailand. When his visa ran out, he stayed on. “I’ve not been asked for my passport once since my visa expired. I make sure never to take it with me and prepare an excuse why I don't have it.”

Jim works online so he controls about when and where he travels. “When I want to go somewhere in the daytime, I wear my helmet, avoid the common roadblock points, or take a Thai friend and have them drive. The thing about not carrying a passport is that as long as police don't detain you, then you are fine.

"If you show up at the airport and report yourself to immigration, you pay the $600 fine and you are free to leave the country. I'm planning to do that this month and am relocating to a small island a few countries away for four months of surfing and living the island life as I plan my next destination.

"I'm also working towards getting an emergency fund saved up so I don't have to overstay a visa again, and I'm making the move to elevate my privacy level a couple notches by re-reading How to Be Invisible.”

Also, “with enough money in my pocket, I know a well-connected Thai man who could give my passport to the right people and get all my visa issues sorted out without ever having to face the authorities. I'm sure others could make similar connections because I'm not involved with anything illegal here--it's just the way Thai society functions."

The above is primarily for entertainment purposes. If you do something similar and get detained, you will spend some time in jail and be deported—possibly to the same place you were fleeing from.

Friday, June 4, 2010

How to protect your privacy and yet receive deliveries from FedEx and UPS

Many of you readers use a PO Box for normal mail, and a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) for receiving shipments via FedEx and UPS. The problem is that all you need is ONE package sent to you, and both sender and receiver go into a national database where they remain forever. And FedEx shares their data with the U.S. government. Once your CMRA address is known, a PI may get your home address though subterfuge (“pretexting”). Also, various agencies can obtain your address with either a subpoena or the threat of one.

So if you wish to protect your privacy, what can you do?

Option One:

Obtain a true ghost address using the instructions in How to Be Invisible. (This is admittedly a challenge for many readers.)

Option Two:

Use the initial of your first or middle name plus your last name and have the delivery send to the local courier’s address. Mark the label marked “hold for pickup.” You may be asked for ID. If so, show your passport, not your driver’s license. (I always show up with an invoice from the sender. I dress well and speak with confidence. So far, I have not been asked for ID.)

Option Three:

Ask a friend to use his address. The package can be addressed solely to your friend, or you can use two names. For example, if your friend’s name is Hernandez and your name is Wilson, have the package send to “Hernandez and Wilson”.


If you have ever received a FedEx or UPS delivery to your home, then your address has already been entered in the courier’s national database. It will never be removed, but keep in mind the above options if and when you ever move.