Information Defense

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Tgace, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    As an offshoot of another thread.

    There are numerous websites out there that provide everything from personal addresses and birthdates to phone numbers and maps, absolutely free. For a price, even more personal information can be provided. There have been attempts to legislate these sites out of existence with little luck. There are methods you can take to make yourself at least transparent if not invisible to people who are trying to track you electronically. This usually works best if you take countermeasures when you move to a new address. Some tips...

    Get a PO box: The hassle of driving to the post office everyday is worth it. Change your drivers license, checks and other personal data to this address. It will become a hassle when it comes to mail order, mail forwarding and some troubles cashing checks at stores but its worth it.

    Unlist your phone: Either pay to have it unlisted or learn the trick I found. You dont have to list your phone under your name. List it under your Great Grandfathers, your dog or Phill McKracken. The phone co. doesnt really care and its free.

    Get on the "do not call list": www.donotcall.gov/

    Remove internet sources: If you find your address online send in requests to have it removed. Not always possible but try anyway.

    Do not give out personal data: Dont do it on the phone, dont do it at the register, dont do it online, dont do it. When filling out forms look for those DO NOT SHARE MY INFORMATION boxes and fill them out. Sometimes you may have to give it out but at least make the attempt to refuse. Unless you are under "deep cover" this is all just a matter of minimizing risk, you are not a CIA operative.

    Keep your receipts. Be aware at the ATM for people watching you. Look out for boxes over the top of your ATM card reader. Dont keep your PINs with your cards.

    Shred all documents being thrown out: Buy a shredder or tear it up by hand. Do the automatic bill payment thing if you like as it reduces paperwork buildup.

    For the serious paranoid look up Limited Liability Corporations (LLC's): To intricate to explain... google it.

    Use an attorney: Another more extreme measure. Have all your mail go through your lawyers office. A hassle and pricy.

    Check your credit report: See if anybody else is using your identity.

    I may think of more but Im running out. Share your stories and tips if you have any.
     
  2. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    Tom,
    I stickied this. Great info, and I figure we can build it as a major online defense thread.

    :)
     
  3. Sapper6

    Sapper6 3rd Black Belt

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    great advice :)
     
  4. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    Cool Bob :) Heres some more....

    Be discreet when filling out application forms, whether on-line or in paper form. Often, you can provide general instead of specific information and still complete the transaction (for example, responding “over 18” or “younger than 65” when asked for age). Try to determine what information on an application or warranty form is for marketing purposes and not necessary for completing the transaction. When you are asked to sign authorizations to disclose your personal information, date the form or add an expiration date and cross out language that makes the authorization too broad or general. Revoke the authorization in writing if you reconsider later.

    Protect the confidentiality of your Social Security number. Just say no. Social Security numbers are really not necessary when applying for credit or insurance. There are legal limits when government agencies ask for Social Security numbers. Any request for your number when the transaction has tax consequences – like getting a job or opening a bank account or buying a house – is legitimate. In other cases, ask for a random number you select or, if you must, try providing only the last four digits. Or if its not for legal purposes (i.e. they are unimportant nobodies who dont need it) make it up.

    Attach conditions to sensitive information that you feel you have to provide. Ask that it not be further disclosed outside the organization or that it be destroyed after a certain period. Ask to inspect it in the future. This creates a binding contract with the organization. If it refuses to accept your conditions, that tells you about its information practices.

    Never provide sensitive information over the telephone or Internet to someone you don’t know – including your Social Security number, home address or phone number, bank-account or insurance-policy numbers, bank balance, mother’s maiden name, or medical information. If you want, call back the company and keep a record of its phone number.

    Phrase your demand so that it elicits a positive response, not a negative one. Don’t say, “I refuse. . . .” Say, “Because I’m concerned about my privacy, I chose to keep that information to myself. . . .” Assume that most clerks, as individuals, will identify with your concerns, and you will discover that many of them do. Be persistent. Be prepared to try three or four times before the organization caves in.

    Ask to inspect and correct files about yourself where federal law permits this – credit reports, consumer investigations, school records, federal-agency files, cable TV providers, and criminal records. A dozen states provide these rights for insurance files and 15 states have these rights for personal information stored by state agencies. Almost half the states and a federal regulation require this for medical records.

    Ask the post office not to disclose your new address to commercial mailers when you file a change-of-address form. Better still, make your change of address temporary not permanent. A temporary forwarding instruction is good for one year, and the Postal Service does not forward temporary change-of-address information to commercial list users and direct marketers.

    Ask to inspect your own medical file and to add information to it if necessary. About 20 states and a federal regulation give you this right and most professional medical organizations endorse this right.

    Some more phone tips. Have your telephone number listed without an address in the directory. This will provide much of the same protection that you seek from an unlisted number – and for no charge – because marketers are not interested in collecting phone numbers without addresses. This will keep you out of the address and telephone directories on the World Wide Web. For a nominal monthly fee, some phone companies will provide you a second phone number that will ring with a distinctive sound. You can make this your “public number” that you provide to businesses and government agencies. Reserve your original telephone number for friends and relatives, and then you will know when they are calling. In addition, ask the major mailers to delete you from their telephone and mailing lists.

    Remember that cellular, mobile, and cordless phones are not secure. Neither is electronic mail; regard it as you would a postcard. Remember that a recipient of your e-mail can pass it on to the whole world, inadvertently or intentionally. You have to respond to e-mail carefully to avoid sending responses to persons you did not intend to receive it. Do not ever use telephones and computers at work for sensitive or embarrassing communications. Federal law permits employers to monitor.

    Protect against theft of identity. The main reason for it is the circulation of your Social Security number or carelessness with it by organizations. Keep your SSN out of general circulation as much as you can. Keep it off your driver’s license and your personal checks.

    Shop Around. The new century has brought a few new products and services that actually enhance your privacy – e-mail forwarding services that protect your anonymity, encryption software, innovative telephone-answering machines, shredders, mail receivers. Seek them out.
     
  5. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    If you get an email from a bank, PayPal, Amazon or Ebay asking for account information, DONT give it. They never ask for it as they have it. All those emails are fishing for your info and never legit.

    If you are past-due on a bill and get a call asking for payment, don't give it. Tell them you will call them back at the number on your bill. While they may give you an argument, tell them you don't give out that information over the phone, period.
     
  6. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    That is some very good info!! Thanks for posting it!! Its amazing how much info that is supposed to be private, ends up being not so private! I guess in todays world, one can never be too carefull. You hear all the time about people paying a dinner bill with a CC and the waiter/waitress has a device that scans the card, and allows them to record the numbers and make a fake card. Even in a store, the cashier will ask for your phone number. As discreet as you are in giving it, the person standing behind you may overhear this.

    Mike
     
  7. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    I give my office number. [​IMG]
     
  8. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    Tell your children NOT to borrow a stranger's cell phone to call home - that number stays in that phone's memory and a predator could track your address from there.

    Once you get a PO Box, have ALL of your mail delivered there - accept ABSOLUTELY NO MAIL at your home address. This took me an entire year to accomplish at my last residence. And when ANYONE sends you ANYTHING at home, give them a talking to so they never forget it.

    If you MUST have a discount price card at a grocery store, don't call out your home number at the register NOR tap it into the keypad in line - carry it or don't. Be aware that this information is shared with lots of vendors.

    If you have to call about any kind of account you have, call to find out where a local office is so you can settle things in person - it is SO easy to listen in on phone conversations it's unbelievable. Make the trip - it's safer.
     
  9. Jonathan Randall

    Jonathan Randall Senior Master

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    Yes, but while this is true, there are exceptions. I patrol the local rivers as a volunteer for the Coast Guard and we launch from a park. Towards late afternoon if I see a young person, particularly a woman, who seemes to be separated from their party, I offer them my cell phone because after dark these parks become very dangerous. However, I am in uniform and on an official safety patrol and I also let them know of safer places to wait and when I can I bring a female volunteer with me while I make the offer, I do so. I guess it depends upon context - are they safer not calling, meaning it's just a convenience factor, or are they stranded or lost and in a possibly dangerous location? The advice I give my woman friends is to avoid using stranger's cell phones, unless for safety's sake you must, AND try to call ANOTHER CELL PHONE and NOT home. Cell phone numbers, can of course, be checked back to a residence - but it is more difficult to do so. Also, it is better to ask than to be offered. If possible, pick the least harmful looking person to ask (say, a 50 year old grandmother), rather than accepting a male's (20-60), as the grandmother is statistically less likely to be a predator.

    Still, your post contains great advice. It is so easy in our Information Age for predators to get personal info.

    Also, members should read "The Gift of Fear" and "Strong on Defense". One covers general principles, the other tactics. I bought extra copies of "The Gift of Fear" some years ago and gave them to two co-workers whose daughters were going off to college. I think people who read and practice the advice in these books are safer than martial arts experts who don't.

    I am glad that, in general, martial arts instructors are putting in much more effort and training towards these aspects (assault prevention) of self-defence. Twenty years ago, most instructors' advice consisted simply of saying "be aware" (never told you WHAT to be aware of, BTW) and don't walk in dark alleys at night. Also students, almost without being told, are more interested in learning common precautions and awareness tips than, IMO, than they were twenty years ago. When I began college, many co-eds considered their taking Judo as solving their self-defense needs. (Not picking on women, just that sexual assault is a serious problem on campus.) Now, they are asking more and reading more about avoidance and extrication.
     
  10. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Last night I was reading this thread at about 8:30 ish and I recieved a phone call. It was from someone who identified themselves as being affiliated with my bank as a "fraud protection service". The person said that the bank was monitoring the usage of my card and that they noticed a few out of the ordinary transactions. The woman listed off some transactions that I had made and asked me if I had actually made those transactions. Then she wanted to "verify" my card and asked me to give her my card number and expiration date.

    I told her to give me a number where I could reach their office and that I would check this out for myself. She said sure and gave me an 800 number and then hung up. I then proceeded to call my bank's 24 hour service line and found out that my account was under no scrutiny and that no such calls had been made regarding my account.

    This scam was very clever and I was almost caught. My wife and I cancelled our debit cards in response because somebody somehow has our account information. Any advice on what to do next on this??
     
  11. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    Don't trust that just because it's an 800 number it's legit. ANYone can get a toll free number. Caller ID is very helpful here.
     
  12. Flatlander

    Flatlander Grandmaster

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    Upnorth, have you googled the 800# the scammer gave you? It might work...
     
  13. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    This blog http://fraudwar.blogspot.com/ contains some useful and up-to-date information, and it changes constantly. Some of the same information is in this thread; however, the site's archives contain information about new and recurring fraud, phishing, and financial scams. I don't read it all the time, but I check every so often for new scams.

    Here is a site that lists ways to remove yourself from lists; I used the opt-out for credit card offers and then the one for junk mail, and my mail was cut in half... http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs1a-basics.htm

    This site http://www.privacyrights.org/search.htm also has some good information on it.

    This is a very useful thread!
     
  14. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    This is a great thread! Important stuff. I cant believe I didnt read this earlier.



    PS-Tgace, I sent you a PM but it didnt work. Could you PM me?
     
  15. thescottishdude

    thescottishdude Orange Belt

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    as a private investigator, I also agree that information about a person's activities shouldn't just be available to everyone. Those in the industry and governments have to go though several severe checks to access public records and more advanced databases, and the penalties for misusing information is stiff.

    the trouble with 100% free access to public records is the following 1) marketers using and abusing the ifnormation to send junk mail and pester you 2) you do not know who holds the information.

    With the security industry in the UK and in the USA the government knows which comapnies know what about who, so that if the iformation is misused there's a papertrail to a company that can be held responsible. with free public record access this is not possible.
     
  16. Tootall

    Tootall White Belt

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    A lot of good information there.
     
  17. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    I realize that this is an older post, but there was nothing clever about it.
    Microsoft doesn't call you on the phone to ask for your hotmail password, and banks don't call you on the phone to ask for your pin and expiration date. There is never a good reason to give that information to anyone on the phone, and if you have to call back someone of your bank, call the official main number of the bank and have them patch you through.
     
  18. Kyosanim

    Kyosanim Orange Belt

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    Great post man! :)
     
  19. DennisBreene

    DennisBreene 3rd Black Belt

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    If you want to forward someones email be considerate of their privacy. Click Forward, Click B and C. Don't place the forward addresses on the To line. Place all forwarding addresses on the B line. Each recipient will recieve only their copy of the forward without the list of the others you have forwarded to. And please delete the names and addresses of the parties that sent you the email.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
  20. savage77091

    savage77091 White Belt

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    If you sign up for a discount or reward card at a store, casino or wherever. Give them the wrong phone number and address. I've been using the wrong phone number at my bank and on discount grocery store cards for several years now. Also, the bank gives your information out to debt collectors, use a different address even at your bank.
     

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