Address Confidentiality Programs (ACP) were created to protect victims of stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes from offenders who use public records, such as voter or drivers’ license registries, to locate them. These programs give victims a legal substitute address to use in place of their real physical address; this address can be used whenever an address is required by public agencies. First class mail sent to the substitute address is forwarded to the victim’s actual address.
One of the requirements of this program is that the victim needs to move, or show that they are moving soon to a new address. That would typically be the case for a victim of these types of crimes who wants to hide their location. The programs are paid for by victim’s restitution funds in most states.
Thirty-six states have launched Address Confidentiality Programs (see links below) and laws governing eligibility vary from state to state. It is important to remember that these programs can only work if the perpetrator does not know where the victim lives, and when used in conjunction with other safety strategies. Several of these states say that local and state government agencies must accept a participant’s “substitute address” as their legal address for home, work, and school. Some other uses for the substitute address include:
• Drivers license and state identification documents
• Motor vehicle titles and registrations
• School enrollment and school record transfers
• Human services benefits
• Police reports
• Court records
• Local recreation centers
• Bank accounts
• Additional protections on voter registration records
• Special protections on Comcast, Xcel Energy, and other utility accounts
If you are a victim who qualifies for this program, it could be a very good first step in safeguarding your whereabouts. Remember, your actual address will be leaked into online databases quickly if you ever share it anyone, especially a business entity. Many of the privacy strategies I discuss here, especially the more advanced options, will prove to be even more effective than the program mentioned above. The ACP is simply another tool. In my opinion, the person who takes the time and effort to carefully implement removal strategies and hide their home address with advanced methods, can achieve even more privacy for themselves and have even more control.
When safety is one of your reasons for wanting privacy, be thorough and calculated with your efforts to ‘hide’. If this is the first blog post your are reading here, be sure to explore more of what has been shared and the many resources that are available to help you. Below are links to more information on the Address Confidentiality Programs.