SkiRacer NOTE: I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL ADVISOR, THESE ARE PERSONAL OPINIONS SHARED AND NOT TO BE RELIED ON AS PROFESSIONAL ADVICE....ALWAYS SEEK QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS FOR ALL LEGAL AND INVESTMENT ADVISORY
LESSON 5: Protections
Caveat: We self divide into groups that have different objectives. Mine are privacy, freedom, safety, and future both here and afterlife. This is necessarily colored by my life experiences, my expertise, and my personality. So I want to be upfront about that. I am not a professional financial advisor or attorney. I am just a nerd.
There are multiples levels of protections you will need.
Personal/Physical: Your family, home, privacy
Electronic: online hackers, internet trollers, identity thieves, etc
From obvious predators: Thieves, moochers, sales people, politicians, telemarketers, bankers, even various charities, etc. In short these are people who see you as an easy mark to hit up for money.
From Lurking Predators: The would-be victims, people looking to punish you because you are rich and they are owed, victims who sue for a living, party people looking for a sugar daddy, the gold digger deceivers who marry for money, in short the ambulance chaser mentality.
Your personality will dictate further protections that may be needed.
Anonymity is one of the best forms of protection.
Protect your Home & Family
Get a security system. Expensive does not mean the best, but it could. As a nerd I know how "stuff works" behind the scenes and this colors my view considerably, that's a caveat. It all comes down to either electrical currents or ones and zeros. Study various systems available and choose one that is the safest for assorted reasons.
Simply Safe, as an example, builds a system based on a wireless LAN of sorts. There are no wires a thief can cut, no wires to install, no limitations on positions or placement, no outside workers invited into your home, etc. It maintains connectivity to a central location via a dedicated cell phone system rather than a landline, which could be disabled by the experienced thief.
This makes it suitable for owned homes, rented homes, apartments, etc. It goes with you when you move totally easily. It is thus good for college students in a dorm situation, kids in their first apartments, the elderly, etc. The monitoring is even optional. On the other end of the spectrum you can get crazy and run wires everywhere and spend big bucks. It is all a matter of your life experiences, expertise, and objectives.
Get a Distant Mailbox. Pay for a new version of Post Office boxes, one with a street address and a suite number (i.e. the box humber). They cost about $12-15 a month and sign for packages, etc. Use this for any communication except personal. Choose one easy for you to get to so you will actually pick up your mail occasionally.
Get a burner phone. Why? There are no contracts, no records by cell companies, it prohibits even NSA monitoring that can be traced to you! You get to be anonymous. Trac Phone is an example sold at Target and Wal-Mart. You buy minutes as you need them. Use this phone number anytime you must provide one.
Have Self Defense. Why? The police will not get to you in time in most cases. Maybe it is a bat, a gun, pepper spray, a bug bomb, etc. But have something by your bed and near your kitchen, the two places you spend a lot of time. But have something!
Get a safe INSTALLED. WHY? It is the perfect place to stash cash, gold, jewelry, guns, important life-papers, computer backups, etc. Have it bolted to floors and walls. Make it big and heavy.
Set up an LLC. WHY? You can use the anonymity of that LLC to do charitable and political contributions for one thing. For another it sets up a shield of economic protection against lawsuits; the plaintiff can only go after assets in the LLC not you personally. That is huge. People own cars in LLC for that reason. People own houses in an LLC name for that reason. YOU get the picture.
Go to your state's website and search for LLC. They normally let you do it online. Once it is set up you go to the IRS site and get a tax id (specify you want the LLC to be a "disregarded entity" and you only need to file a Schedule C on your taxes. Now that money is not the object this may not be so important. Check with your professionals.) NOW the LLC has its very own ID, like a social security number, but it is not tagged to Y-O-U.
Be sure to use the Distant Mailbox and burner phone number! Y-O-U are not easy to connect to this LLC then.
Protect yourself electronically
Online. Do not post pictures of yourself or family on public sites. You would be AMAZED and awe-stricken by the facial & voice recognition software available today. There are also web-crawlers that can use an image to go seek other images throughout the internet, then start putting addresses and phone numbers with them. There truly are evil people out there and you must protect yourself. It comes from vigilance and a little common sense.
Don't use online banking except from a home LAN that is protected. Even then it is unwise. NEVER access your online banking systems in a public WI-FI environment, even a password protected one, in a hotel, or library, etc. NEVER.
Banks: Manage your bank accounts by moving money at the bank not online.
Debit Cards: Maintain VERY limited funds in a debit card-accessed account. Isolate this account if you must have it. Make it self standing and not part of any other portfolio accounts you may have. When you set it up use your Distant Mailbox, above, and your burner phone. Some people refuse to have one.
ATMs. Yes there are times you must use one. Be more responsible and don't go for $20 everyday. Instead, get a weekly amount in cash and use that for everyday small purchases. Choose a secure one, not one in a mall. There are remarkable devices that can be inserted into ATMs that read your card, capture your PIN, then BINGO, your money is a goner. Cash is not traceable. We have entered a very monitored system as citizens. You can opt out by using cash. You can even go to the bank (!!) and make a withdrawal for this weekly money, or keep a month's supply in a home safe. My ones and zeros expertise guide me to avoid ATMs and any sort of electronic banking.
Credit Cards. Set up one that you use exclusively if you do ANY online purchasing, which I also discourage BTW. THis card should use your new Distant Mailbox and Burner phone and should have limited money in the account. Online sites: Avoid those that keep your records, such as Ebay, PayPal, opt out of "joining any site" where they keep your information; remain a guest though it is inconvenient. Avoid Facebook with your real identity. If you do use it go to the SETTINGS and opt out of absolutely everything public; the default is completely public so anybody can see everything even if you do not so intend.
Watch what sites you frequent. It is not hard to physically locate an internet user for anyone with proper knowledge of how the internet works internally. And it is not complex really. Some sites are notorious, such as Yahoo.
Be aware of all the sites hacked in the past year alone: Target, Ebay, Chase credit card division, the IRS, Home Depot, Obamacare, countless others, etc. Remember Snowden. All the consolidation of data is not necessarily a good thing.
Mother Lode account: (see Lesson 2, Choosing a bank if you don't know what this is.) It is worth repeating that this account must not have electronic banking associated with it.
Absolutely no debit card (your PIN is only 4 digits, it is entered in countless places, any idiot can figure it out!…there are only 10,000 possibilities that an iPhone can run thru in an instant). Abso-positively-freeking NO debit card.
No credit card. While they are marginally safer, they open this account to multiple vulnerabilities. This is your Once-In-a Lifetime stash. Protect it with all you've got.
No pre-printed checks. This advertises to anybody you write a check to all the info to access the account, even the routing number! be smart.
PROTECTION FROM PREDATORS ( the not-evil ones, the annoying ones):
Anonymity is one of the best forms of protection.
Location and Connectivity
Use your Distant Mailbox: Direct them to a different physical location for their house-to-house sales calls AND all their junk mail. Be sure to use this for politicians as they are the worst; they routinely pass laws then exempt themselves from them. And they sell your name and contact info to anybody with a dime.
Use your burner phone: For all the same reasons. I helped design multiple call center internals and I hate telemarketer calls! There are tricks to fool the autodialers, but the best protections for landlines in cue they still have that number are:
Have an answering machine to screen your calls, meaning you never answer your phone. Pause in your recorded message after, "Hello (or Good day)." for about 2 seconds. It causes autodialers to route the call to the next agent. Then they get to hear the rest of your message. It also fools people who call you though.
Have a listed phone number that you give out to everybody.
Have another phone number you pay extra for that has distinctive ringing and that you only give to your family or friends.
Most companies we do business with these days have OPT OUT requests, but of course they make it difficult to do sometimes. But take the time to do it. Otherwise you give them permission to sell your name and ALL ACCOUNT information to all their affiliates, subsidiaries, third parties (whatever the heck that means!! ...the net just gets larger), etc. Big holding companies maintain huge databases and we have no idea how much information is in those. OPT OUT OF IT ALL.
Banks are notorious because they have a consumer division and a commercial division. The difference is we are the consumers and we need checking and savings accounts. BUT somewhere along the way under assorted deregulation laws banks may now be in the financial services industry, i.e. the brokerage and stock business. That is the commercial division. Banks historically have a lot of consumer expertise. Commercial? mmmm not so much in general.
Even commercial financial institutions have not fared so well of late. Remember Lehmann Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and the whole Wall Street debacle? yeah. Well, buyer beware. If their primary purpose is to manage funds and they lose them can you imagine what they are doing with IT (Information Technology) when it is not "their bailiwick?"
Insurance companies are another source of invasion of privacy. They have all sorts of info on you, like what special add-ons on your homeowners policy you have for that jewelry or artwork, or antiques or the whatevers you treasure. Then of course they sell that information to the highest bidder and all "affiliates, third parties, etc." again. Is it any wonder we have identity theft? OPT OUT OF IT ALL EVERY CHANCE YOU GET.
Charities are among the worst sellers of your information. Charities make a lot of money by selling their lists to "other affiliates and third parties" (those guys again!) I have quit donating in my name for this reason.
Use the LLC to make donations
Better yet donate to a Donor-Directed charity once and let THEM do your donations. It gives you another layer of privacy and anonymity. (See Lesson 4 on Taxation)
Politicians: Ditto for the Charity advice. NEVER donate another dime to politicians in your own name. BUT do support your causes please.
(Recreation tip for the slightly demented: Do a small donation to some politician or charity using a version of your name, like SJ Smith when your name is James Samuel Smith. Then trace it and see how many letters show up over the next 4 months addressed to SJ. This will prove the major industry of selling contact lists.) Old people get into too much mischief!
PROTECTION FROM LURKING PREDATORS (the evil ones):
Anonymity is one of the best forms of protection. These are the people who basically want to sue you because they tripped over a rug in your house, you opened your car door and barely hit their car parked next, or just because, etc.
Use your Distant Mailbox
Use your burner phone
Use your LLC to own cars and houses
Insure yourself to the hilt.
Get an umbrella policy for $5M that really does cover almost everything.
Up your car insurance a bit too to liability limits of $2M.
Up the liability insurance on your home(s).
The gold diggers (may also include long-lost relatives)
There will alway be opportunists. They are the ones that marry for money not love. They marry the old guy or gal in hopes they kick the bucket soon. We won't change them, but we can avoid them.
Don't flaunt your money
Rent fancy cars if you want for the first year (a different one every weekend or month), but don't buy one right away if you are single. A small BMW is fine but not a Bentley!
Dont' buy rounds of drinks in a bar for strangers
Don't wear fancy watches to advertise your wealth
Find a soul mate that loves you first for YOU then introduce the idea of a Pre-nuptial agreement before the BIG day. Divorce is one of the costliest endeavors man has created. Protect yourself. "Sole and separate property" is a really good thing to research and understand, particularly in community property states.
Link to Lesson #1 Dinar Rates and Contracts:
Link to Lesson #2 Choosing a Bank and Accounts: