In PART 1 of this series on Address Protection we discussed the importance of separating your real name from your physical address. We also touched on mail control methods and ways to deal with previous addresses found in search results. Take the time to review PART 1 and follow the links that were provided to assist with this vital area for privacy.
Managing your identity and safeguarding your personal information is about control. Removing or manipulating information about you in databases or issuing strategic forms of disinformation are examples of this control. Ideally, you should have a clear understanding about where your personal details can be found online (if at all), and what entities have your information in their respective databases in the real world also. To do this, you should take a step back and try to view your identity profile from a distance.
As you remove more and more information from online sources, the easier it gets to pinpoint where your information still remains and it allows you to focus further removal efforts. If you search for yourself and find only a handful of sites that show your home address, then you can target them with more persistence. You will also know the probable source(s) of where your information was located should someone find you.
As an example, a friend of mine can not be found when searching their name on people search websites. His home address is not listed anywhere online because he has completed many of the basic steps to eliminate that information in online databases. If a private investigator were to show up at his doorstep, he likely would have been located in databases that are only available to subscribers of paid services or in offline real world databases. Maybe the investigator manually searched for him at the County Assessor’s office and located the deed to his house (public record). Maybe the investigator knew his phone number and simply called the local pizza delivery services in his area. The investigator may have asked the employee to verify the home address on file for that phone number. A simple, but creative means of obtaining an address, right?
The point is, even though my friend had removed much of his publicly viewable information from online sources, he was still compromised by other methods. Take a step back and look at exactly where your information is, both online and offline.
If you are controlling your identity for safety or privacy reasons, you need to carefully scrutinize any company, service, or entity that has your physical address. The majority do not need that vital piece of information on file and using an alias address or PO Box would be a much better option. We have discussed address protection in previous posts (LINK).
Evaluate your life and identify who has your home address and change or remove that information when possible. Does your employer need to know where you live? Maybe, but maybe not. Does the DMV have record of where you live? How about your insurance company or financial institutions? How is your home address leaking into public databases? A marriage license, or previous bankruptcy? If you are a law enforcement official, does your county offer to shield your property tax records from public record? Many do, and this is a huge win for privacy and for stopping your real estate data from leaking.
There and many possibilities, and you should identify the sources of those leaks in your life and take steps to shut them down.
Qualified professions (law enforcement and public officials) can have their personal information removed from many public and non-public databases used by attorneys and PI’s. We have discussed that in previous posts (LINK). It is also possible to be removed from the major data brokers that collect and sell your information to premium services used by investigators (LINK).
As you get more thorough with your removal efforts I encourage you to develop a clear understanding on where your personal information can be located. Think like an investigator or a stalker. How would someone locate me? What information have I previously put out into the world that I can now change or delete entirely in the interest of making myself more difficult to find? When you reach the point where you have removed all that you can by executing more advanced techniques, that is when you can test your success. Find a proficient OSINT (LINK) investigator to search for you. Hire a reputable private investigator or skip tracer to see if they can find any vulnerabilities.
Controlling your privacy is a lifestyle change. It takes effort, requires you to change some habits, and in the process you will learn a lot. You and your family will enjoy a much higher level of privacy and security as a result.