Extreme Privacy: Tips On How to Stay "Off the Grid"
Recently, I had a client that was being stalked by an ex-boyfriend. Things had gone from bad to worse, and the ex-boyfriend started sending threatening letters to her friends, families, and co-workers. My client was worried that the ex-boyfriend was going to take the next step and physically hurt her or her kids. She asked me to help take her “off the grid” and she was ready to take drastic steps to make that happen.
Increasingly, successful businessmen and women, celebrities, and ordinary people wanting to maintain extreme privacy are taking steps to remove all public information about where they live on the internet. In the information age, it is very tough to truly remain “off the grid”. However, there are some things that can be done that will make it much more difficult for the wrong person to find you.
1. Remove all social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Politely ask family and friends to never post pictures of you or your family on such sites.
2. Obtain a P.O. Box and start using it for your mailing address. Never use your physical address for any public record.
3. Replace your mailing address on all public information sites with your P.O. Box address.
- Driver’s License
- Voter Registration Card
- Vehicle and Boat Titles
4. Create a limited liability company or limited partnership for real property that you own (except your homestead)
- Use a name that does not include or indicate your personal name. Ask a third party, such as Dossey and Jones, to be the registered agent and list their address as the registered office. A physical address must be used, so a P.O. Box will not be allowed.
- Ask a third party, such as Dossey & Jones, to be the listed governing authority. Once the entity is filed with the Secretary of State, ask the third party to resign and appoint yourself as the governing authority. Better yet, register the entity in a state that does not require the public listing of the governing authority such as Delaware.
5. Create a revocable trust with a name that does not include or indicate your personal name. Deed all your homestead property to it. This will make it a bit harder to find you through appraisal district websites, but to truly remove all references to you in the public records, you will need to sell your residence, set up the revocable trust, and then buy the new home using the revocable trust.
As you can see, it takes a lot of work to take yourself “off the grid”. However, with diligence, it is possible to make it very difficult for unwanted people to find you through the public records.