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How can you stay private in a very public world? The answer is it's virtually impossible. There is no way today to live under the radar, off the grid so to speak. There is a way but it's quite unorthodox and probably illegal but if you've ever been stalked, are going through it right now or just have a problem with snoopers then you are probably wondering how you can accomplish this impossible feat and not get in trouble doing it.
What prompted me to write this article was reading an article about stalking that suggested you clear your name from all databases and most certainly clearing it from databases that sell your personal information. Unfortunately, almost all companies out there even those you think would never sell your information do it, they do it all the time to make money. That's how many companies make the bulk of their profit, from selling your personal information to one company and they in turn sell your information to another company and so on and so forth until your information is all over place. In fact information brokers get little tidbits of information here and there and start a dossier on people until their file is full. They get peoples personal information from many different sources, many are from public records databases and courthouses. These places offer a bevy of information on people and it's all public record and there is no way to delete your personal information from these sources.
So here I am thinking, how do I erase my personal information from public databases? It's practically impossible. There isn't one database out there that doesn't collect some information about you, even utility companies collect your name and address and resell it, they figure because it's just your name address there's no harm. Well that's all the information a stalker needs. Most definitely catalogs and websites where you enter personal information sell your personal information. Okay that's easy enough, don't order any catalogs and don't fill out any surveys or like forms on websites.
Don't use your home address as your mailing address, always use a post office box and never get mail at your home or office. This is why you pay for a PO box. Unfortunately, when filling out credit card or loan applications they must have your home address, the downside is they don't allow you to put your PO box in for a mailing address. They simply assume you can get mail at your home if you want to. I can't. Where I live doesn't do mail delivery to our homes, everyone in my neighborhood has to get their mail at a post office like it or not. Most won't have this problem.
I realized very early on that if I wanted my credit card(if I approved) I was going to have to find a solution to this problem. My home address and PO box address were not the same so it finally occurred to me to just use the physical post office address as my mail delivery address. When filling out applications I would put the PO box physical address in the first line and the second line I would put my PO box. If there had been another way where I could have put both physical and mailing I would have but for some reason I can't fathom credit card companies don't allow it and none do. This an across the board thing.
Now this still leaves the erasure of your personal information which is next to impossible. There are databases out there that literally give someone your entire life history with a few mouse clicks. Everything you do will at some point become public record no matter how private. There is no shortage of databases out there who collect personal information. Credit bureaus do it(for purposes of gathering credit card and loan information). Information from credit bureaus always end up in people search databases and others like them. Every time you change your address on a credit card it changes your information in so called public record databases and there is no escaping it. The only way to not have credit bureaus with your current information is to give up all credit cards and loans and make sure you never give out a new address to anyone for any reason, not even your bank because they too periodically run your credit for offers, etc. and when they do it gives a hit to the credit bureaus and your personal information is right back to being public record again. At your bank use a PO box for mailing. They will tell you they need a physical address on file, either use an old one or a family members but I wholeheartedly recommend making one up. I don't see why they need it, they have mailing address and that's all they need.
All information from credit bureaus, catalogs, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, any places you order from, traffic tickets, court records, marriages, divorces, even DMV information is considered public record. Let me explain a little further about the DMV. Here recently I found a website while looking for unlimited carfax reports(which BTW they no longer offer) I ran across a website advertising VIN reports. I thought it was a new site that would give me information like carfax only a little cheaper so I signed up for it. Once inside the members section I realized this wasn't about carfax at all but something totally different and I now wished I had paid closer attention to the site.
Nothing I could do then except explore it so I entered my car's VIN number and was I very surprised at what popped up. Not a vehicle history report but my name and address as it appears on my drivers license. Thinking this might be a fluke I entered the VIN numbers of my other vehicles and that of my sons(registered to me) and my name and address came up on all of them. I was stunned. This is all any stalker needs. But even if a stalker only gets a carfax report(many car dealers and oil change places report to carfax) he can find out where you live just by looking at where you service your automobile provided he has the VIN which more than likely he will.
I wondered how my stalker had gotten my PO box, he had boasted about looking up my vehicle in carfax and it suddenly dawned on me that he had probably gotten someone to call the dealership pretending to be me to verify my address. They still have an old address fortunately because I've just never updated it.
While in this website I decided to do some more lookups on myself I had paid for them. I had gotten a traffic ticket for an expired only a few days earlier(roughly ten) and that was already in the website. Again I was shocked. Many traffic tickets put your vehicles VIN on the ticket. My state does not but some do.
I looked up several of my email addresses and that of my friends and up popped our full names, city and state, age and first and last known activity on that email account. Again I was surprised. There is another website out there that provides all of your online activity as well. The website is by far superior in the fact it gives court records, DMV information(you can look up by tag information but I didn't find anything when I typed in my tag number) and finds all of your online activity and even provided me with some of my old email accounts that I have long since stopped using(one I haven't used in almost ten years). I even found old profiles on dating sites from years earlier.
We are definitely in a new era and that era threatens to abolish the last bit of privacy we thought we had. And there is no way to fight back against this monster. I realize the Patriot act demands we give correct information but what are we to do in an age where privacy is a thing of the past. Even if every single person in the world threw their computers out the window we would still have no privacy. Our information would continue to float around out there for years after our deaths. And that very thing is happening right now. People are discovering identity thieves using their deceased loved one personal information. Even the genealogy websites often times give personal information about the living such as relatives, etc. We live in a era where none of our information should be public but it is. Even our SSN's are not safe. Nothing is safe.
In the next article I will outline some of the measures than can be taken to protect privacy. They are unorthodox and much of it is probably considered illegal. If you've never been the victim of a stalker or snoop then most of this doesn't pertain. It doesn't matter who has your information but if you ever become a victim you will wish that you had followed some unorthodox measures.