January 31, 2008 8:35 AM Subscribe
Help me with some ideas on protecting my personal privacy. (U.S. question)
posted by crapmatic to society & culture (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I want to put a stop to persistent telemarketing calls, plus keep my contact info out of databases like ZabaSearch and Lexis-Nexis. I'm about to move to a new place later this year and don't want to screw things up.
Telephone: It's occurred to me to give out a fake number, but I do want the business to be able to get hold of me if, say, there's fraud on a card or I suddenly have a $300K gas bill. This morning I pondered the idea of getting one of those flexible $2/month 1-888 numbers for the purpose of giving out to corporations I do business with. Those 888 numbers use a nice web interface and have tremendous flexibility to block and screen calls; much better than with my crappy landline telco. AFAIK the 800/888 range does not get consumer telemarketing calls, but can be easily dialed from any legitimate U.S. office. If there's a problem I can block it (since ANI is used, no one can hide behind the "Out Of Area" facade).
The problems I've invented in my head are: a database choking with tying an 888 number to my zip code; not allowing me to enter an 888 number as a contact; and being unable activate a credit card since my 888 number would not match my landline's CID or ANI.
Home address: Likewise I want to keep my home address off of online databases. I know I can use a P.O. Box for the majority of this, but the two problems here are (1) telco, utilities, and car insurance, all of which need a physical address, which in turn might get frivolously sold to third parties, and (2) credit card companies and credit bureaus, which keep close tabs on street addresses. It did occur to me that a Mailboxes Etc suite could do the trick in some of these cases.
All in all, I'm not trying to evade anyone, and I KNOW I can't get 100% invisibility. Rather I just want to put in the proverbial ounce of prevention here to prevent someone from finding all my personal info with an ounce of effort. I write books and run a home office and don't want all my info splayed out all over ZabaSearch. Plus, the worst telemarketing I've had to deal with has usually been from big megacorps I've used and their affiliates (thus, because of prior relationship, DNCA goes out the window) and opting out isn't foolproof as evidenced by some big trouble we had with Sprint telemarketing us back in 2001.
Any suggestions? Experiences? Personal anecdotes about giving out a fake or toll-free number?