Payment methods for sketchy retailers
February 8, 2012 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Paying for porn while preserving anonymity redux.

I've read this and this, but I'm still having all kinds of trouble figuring out how best to pay for porn. Which I need to purchase for a research project.

After reading one of the Asks above, I registered for Entropay, got one of their cards, successfully used it once, and then found that other web purveyors decline it. A quick Google search reveals a bunch of potentially scammy stuff about the company, but the biggest problem appears to be with the fact that prepaid/virtual cards lack age verification.

I'm happy to set up a different card, but I need to know that it will be accepted, and also that I won't have to give out my real name and address and phone number when I present it. I draw the line at telling these particular pornographers where I live.

So how does one go about creating an anonymous-ish line of credit, one that is accepted by sites like CC Bill, but set up so no one sees your "real" name and address?

I do not currently have accounts with any of the big banks that offer throwaway credit card numbers. If that's the only/best option, I'd definitely consider it, but I'd like other ideas first if you've got them.

Are there workarounds I haven't thought of?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you thought about asking a friend who's familiar with your research?
posted by Jairus at 1:30 PM on February 8, 2012

Visa/Amex gift card? That seems the most anonymous, and all retailers seem to accept them.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:36 PM on February 8, 2012

@Admiral Haddock - Per their merchant agreement, AMEX does not allow online porn transactions.

Throwaway credit cards most, if not all, times do not work because, as purveyors of pornography, we need to know that the buyer is of legal age to buy pornography. That is one of the reasons we must take your name and address, to electronically match up your credit card account with your identity. We need to know the card isn't stolen, or that it doesn't belong to a minor.

Any online porn retailer that will sell you porn 100% anonymously is being irresponsible and in some cases committing a crime.

We are a business like any other and have regulations and laws we must follow as well.

Just buy the subscription. No one will care. It will not appear on your credit report. In our case, it will appear as an innocuous company name on your credit card statement.

Source: I am an American porn producer with 13+ years in the business and currently 50+ websites. I would never risk selling you a subscription anonymously.
posted by sandra_s at 1:56 PM on February 8, 2012 [21 favorites]

Just buy the subscription. No one will care. It will not appear on your credit report. In our case, it will appear as an innocuous company name on your credit card statement.

It's not necessarily that he thinks anyone will care. Providing his home address leaves open the possibility that they will sell his address and he will get all manner of awful stuff (porn catalogs, etc.) in his mailbox. If I were the OP, I would absolutely be concerned about that.

If they don't have his address, they can't sell it to anyone.
posted by jayder at 2:08 PM on February 8, 2012

Can you sign up for a PO box and use that to register for a new card, closing both when you're done? Or if it's for a research project, can you bill it on a department card and let them deal with the potential junk mail?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:21 PM on February 8, 2012

what about a post office box and set up a credit card through there?
posted by nadawi at 2:21 PM on February 8, 2012

Address verification on credit cards uses your house number and your zip code. So, use your real house number and zip code, but fake everything else?
posted by kindall at 2:35 PM on February 8, 2012

Are you really hung up on the name thing? If you can get over that - and honestly, unless you have a pretty unusual name I wouldn't sweat it - then your only issue is the address.

What's keeping you from being able to use a completely bogus address is address verification. I see on preview that kindall has identified this, but I wouldn't suggest using partially correct information; it'll still come to your mail handling facility and if you're not emotionally prepared to get skeezy mail then you probably aren't prepared to have it come to where your mail is sorted. Plus sometimes they'll figure it out and route it to you anyway.

What you can probably do is get your bank to add another verified address to your card for the duration of this project. So long as they're marginally competent enough to not change your primary address I don't see any reason not to just pick a real address (since they'll likely use address validity checks) that you have no connection to and tell them it's an office address you need to be able to ship things to.

It's not really a security risk since the chance that a person at that specific address will get your credit card number and order stuff fraudulently is effectively 0. Once your project's over go back to the bank and ask them to remove the secondary address.
posted by phearlez at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2012

@jayder I have used CCBill for almost ten years. They do not, and will not, send anything to any subscriber through the mail. The only contact they will make is one, and only one, receipt email will be sent at the moment of transaction. You can use any throw-away email address when subscribing. You will never hear from them again.

Since the OP mentioned CCBill by name, they are free to contact me directly if they have any questions about the purchasing process.
posted by sandra_s at 4:59 PM on February 8, 2012

Call your credit card company and ask to add an authorized user. They will ask for name, date of birth and SSN. Tell that you are not willing/ able to give SSN and just make up a very common name.

Get Mail Boxes, etc. type box with suite and street address and add that as authorized shipping address on your card. State that it's your business address. Use authorized user card and your mail box address.

I've added authorized users before without SSN as it was for extended family member to use on my behalf in certain situations. AMEX asked several times, but I said that I didn't want affect their credit as only I was responsible for the charges. So this path should work although it means lying to CC company.
posted by zeikka at 5:12 PM on February 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

If by "research" you mean some kind of academic research, can you not use a credit card issued by your employer?
posted by pharm at 5:59 AM on February 9, 2012

I've never heard of anyone getting anything through the mail by registering for these sites unless they specifically wanted to. I think you're being paranoid.
posted by desjardins at 1:02 PM on February 9, 2012

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