Keep Your Assets Hidden in Plain Sight
by Bill Rounds
How to Vanish
by Bill Rounds: To
Stop Junk Mail, Stop Receiving Mail
Copperfield. No matter how good a magician you are, there are some
assets that you can't make vanish, and it has nothing to do with
genetics. I'm talking about assets that have your name written all
over them in the public
It is hard
to put real estate, vehicles, and other attention grabbing assets
into a private safe
somewhere. Even if you did, jealous ex boyfriends, business competitors,
and shysters can still look you up and see what you have stashed
why your assets can make you so vulnerable is because the law requires
that certain records be made available to the public. That includes
some records with very revealing information about you and your
stuff. It's a lot like forcing you to go out in public with your
fly open. Many of the websites that publish personal information,
like Intelius and Lexis-Nexis, get a lot of their information from
these public records. To make it harder for the curious and nefarious
to tap juicy assets for personal information, you have to know where
you are vulnerable.
guide for California attorneys practicing debt
collection has a great list of places to look for personal information
in public places to help their clients get a piece of assets from
debtors. Those same sources, and one or two others, can be used
by anyone for less legitimate purposes. There is some variation
by state on who can request certain records and how to do it, but
these places are a great start to see how badly you need to keep
your assets hidden in plain sight.
Assets Hidden In Plain Sight
directories are the oldest trick in the book. Just about everyone,
everywhere has a phone.
A number can be a way to contact you even if you don't want to be
contacted. Phone numbers are also a great way to narrow down searches
for other assets based on the geographic location of your area code,
making the search for your other assets cheaper and easier. In some
cases, your phone number can lead right to your front door.
assessor keeps track of the value of real estate and some personal
property for tax reasons. This is a good way to find the value of
any of these kinds of properties. In many cases, the assessor will
have ownership information, including the address of the property
and a mailing address where the tax bill is sent. If you pay any
property tax, some of your information shows up in these records.
keeps records of all documents that are recorded. This includes
real estate transactions, birth certificates, marriage records,
death records, and a lot of other documents. Your real estate and
an outline of your most important dates will show up in the county
both civil and criminal, are public. If you (or your property) were
involved in court proceedings, your information is out there for
anyone to see unless you have taken steps to cover it.
transferred at death and who they are transferred to are all kept
in the probate court records. If you or someone in your family has
received major assets this way, the whole world can know.
In most states,
of State will have a list of all of the business
entities formed and who their owners, principal directors or officers,
and registered agent are. If you act in any one of those capacities,
your name is going to be easy to find. If you own any assets in
the name of those business entities, they will easily be traced
back to you.
Permits and Licenses
have a central location where alcohol permits, concealed weapons
permits, building permits, and other business permits and licenses
are made public record. If you have any of those kinds of permits,
your information is out there for all to see.
can be discovered through a request to the DMV. Often, when there
is a car loan outstanding, the ownership information will also reveal
a bank where you might have other accounts. A 2 for 1 deal.
A simple Google
search can turn up a lot of things that you might have been involved
in. Did you act in a play in a community theater? If they post that
info in the internet, it can lead right to you. So can coaching
a little league team, or anything else you might do. Even Google
Street View can confirm that you live in a certain place or drive
a certain car. I have successfully used Google
Street View to investigate opposing parties in litigation.
You may have
a website of your own. That website might have information on it
that would lead a clever investigator right to your doorstep. Even
if you don't post your address on your site, the ownership information
can be looked up on whois.com.
If you registered under your own name and address, boom, there you
you post it, they will come. Mark
Zuckerberg found out the
hard way how dangerous it can be to have some personal information
available to the public. Facebook and other social networking sites
are a gold mine for information about your assets. There are usually
ways to make profiles private, but those settings have been known
to change overnight with no warning, and their privacy is easy to
get around. People have been known to make fake profiles of old
friends of a target to connect with an otherwise private profile
and get the juicy details of their life. Even if you don't reveal
any information on purpose, a loose lipped friend may let something
slip, the profiles of the people in your network can reveal your
location, even the pictures themselves can have GPS
coordinates embedded into the code of the picture, which have
been used to track people right to their living room.
has information in one or more of these public places. You know
you do too, don't lie. If so, your assets are hanging out for all
to see. Go ahead and look yourself up in these places to get an
idea of how private your assets really are. There are ways to remove
almost every one of your major assets from those public records.
The book How
To Vanish will show you how to do everything you can legally
do to remove that information. In future posts, and in a
few past posts, I go over specific instructions to remove your
personal information from every single one of these sources, without
having to sell your assets on the street.
with permission from How to
Rounds, J.D. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting
from the University of Utah and a law degree from California
Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic
and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal
defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and
financial freedom and civil liberties.
© 2011 How
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