10 Tips To Help Protect /Keep Your Privacy

Do you want to keep your privacy? Well, in today’s world, it’s really impossible. However, there are many things you can do to help protect your privacy to an extent. Here’s a list of “Do’s & Don’ts” to help you keep your privacy. Add more tips in the comments below…

In case you didn’t know it, there’s an ongoing assault on your personal and financial privacy. Countless private organizations as well as some specific ‘alphabet agencies’ are collecting and maintaining detailed records on all of us.

While clearly your privacy is under siege, there are things you can do about it…

Keep your mouth shut

“Loose lips sink ships”. There always seems to be someone in a crowd, group, or setting who has the loud and boisterous voice. Perhaps a braggart or self-important individual. A first rule of privacy is to keep your mouth shut. Especially while in public, or any environment where others will hear what you say.

Don’t flaunt what you have

People love to flaunt what they have. Whatever it is. By doing so, you may become a target. Be modest, not flashy. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Keep things private.

Shred documents

It is apparently legal for others to go through your curbside trash. Never throw away important documents which will reveal your personal or sensitive information.

Protect or Encrypt computer files

Most people keep some (or many) important documents and files on their computer. Snoops and hackers may be able to get in and see or download these documents. With that said, today’s firewalls and routers are pretty good at keeping them out.

You might consider keeping one computer separately for sensitive file storage. One that you do not let connect to the internet. File transfer via USB drive (for example).

You might purchase a VPN plan (virtual private network), which will also help prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks while on the internet (it’s an encrypted ‘tunnel’).

Additionally you might consider to encrypt your sensitive files with one of the many software encryption programs that are available (some free, some are pay).

Privatize your email

It should be well known by everyone these days that unless you’re using encrypted email, it can be easily intercepted and read. So either assume that everything you write in an email can be read by ‘anyone’, or consider using an encrypted email service (e.g. ProtonMail.com).

Have you ever wondered why some email is free (like gmail)? Well, the big tech behemoth reads them all, and tracks you, and sells your information.

Note: Protonmail.com (no affiliation – although I use them). I do pay for their email service and VPN (along with other included perks). They also offer free private encrypted email. Most agree they are the best as far as privacy. They make their money by selling paid email plans (which include more services) and they sell VPN services / packages.

Anonymize your internet searching and browsing

All of the most popular widely used internet search engines will track every search that you ever make. Additionally, it is well known that the NSA program “PRISM” (and likely others) similarly can keep track of what you’re looking for on the internet with apparent cooperation from the internet service providers themselves.

That said, you should consider using anonymous search engines which do not log or track your IP address when you search online (e.g. search.brave.com, or DuckDuckgo.com). For example, I use Brave (browser and search). And a VPN (proton).

Use cash instead of debit or credit cards

Cash is private. Although there is a definite move towards a cashless society (a watched and controlled society), while you can, you can still use cash if you’re concerned at all about your online ‘dossier’. When you purchase with a debit or credit card, there’s a record of what you’ve bought (forever?), where you’ve bought it, and when you bought it.

Don’t sign up for promotional enticements or discount offers

Have you ever considered why a store might offer you a 10% discount or a $30 discount (etc..) to ‘sign up’ for their store card? Your information is worth money to them. You will be targeted with mailings (and spam mail & phone calls) based on what you purchase, your personal demographic, and other such things. Your name, address, phone number, and email address will go out far-and-wide. Is it worth it for you to do that? Some don’t care. But if you’re concerned about privacy, don’t sign up.

Avoid Facebook, Twitter, and similar social websites

If you’re concerned abut privacy, then it should be a no-brainer that social websites like Facebook (for example) are anything but private. Additionally, it is known that Facebook is apparently a cooperating partner with the ‘PRISM’ program of the NSA, and other .gov programs. Everything that you say on Facebook, every picture you upload to Facebook, is a permanent record of your life for others to peer into…

Be aware that your smart phone is leaving ‘breadcrumbs’

Smart phones are specifically tied to ‘you’. Unless you’re buying a ‘burner phone’, when you sign up for a new cell phone your social security number (as well as your personally identifiable information) is linked to that specific phone. Not only are your calls potentially monitored, but it has been widely reported that many ‘apps’ have total access to the phone’s microphone, camera, GPS position, messaging, etc.. Your phone can track your movements (to other entities) and it could be ‘looking’ at you right now and listening to what you’re saying. Creepy…

Yes, I have a smart phone, just like most everyone else. Although I know it leaves breadcrumbs when its with me, I do pay particular common-sense attention to the Apps and their privacy settings. If someone has a cell phone and they don’t want to leave breadcrumbs when they’re traveling to XYZ, well, when going there, don’t take your cell phone. Or put it in a signal blocker bag…

Cell Phone Faraday Bags
(amzn)

I’m not paranoid, and I know that it is literally impossible to keep your privacy in full. I simply take measures where I can, to help mitigate the gush of personal information that is sucked up each and every moment from the giant vacuum cleaner of modern technology.

[ Read: 5 Ways To Save Money ]

14 Comments

  1. Not sure if this helps but I do not stay signed in to any online site. I have a different password for every single site I use.

  2. if it’s possible burn any mail that has your name on it. don’t put it out with the trash for anyone to go through.
    in our area the county convicts pick up the trash every week.

  3. Definitely get off the socials, and the job sites too, they out of control. If you have any exposure to the public at work, use a pseudonym if possible. This has a double benefit of insulating you against angry people seeking to find you during off hours and it protects against random lonely online drunken psychopaths who try to out you at work for any sleight, real or imagined. If you are self-employed consider setting up an LLC with a registered agent to receive communications. Also make sure you drive a nothing-vehicle, base model, not too clean, no adornments or anything to make it stand out to anyone, be gray. If you are young, NEVER do the 130db rocket-pipe exhaust shit. I hunt those a-holes for fun on the freeway, one call does it all. Beyond that, jeans and a t-shirt over worn out safety shoes is a near perfect camouflage.

  4. I read that duckduckgo sold out. They are collecting data on users. Using Brave browser and its associated search engine is best for searching privately. I used TOR browser some also. Even better when using it with TAILS. Using protonmail myself. However, Seems like I heard that they may be starting to collect info on users, not sure though on that one. I am thinking about getting a Teracube phone with the de-googled Android OS from e.foundation

  5. Also, been thinking about how to shop totally anonymous online
    Here is what I have so far
    buy Vanilla brand VISA gift card (up to $500)
    setup bogus Amazon account with fake info
    add card
    buy what you want and have it delivered to one of the Amazon locker locations
    just wear “covid” mask and generic clothing when buying the card and picking up the purchase.
    I haven’t tried it yet, but I think it should work. Thoughts?

    1. secretsauce,
      it may work, try it.
      or maybe try paying in cash at your local stores. i don’t do the amazon thing anymore. it’s been over a year now
      and i have not missed it.

      1. there are a lot of items that can only be bought online these days. There are plenty of things that can’t be found at Walmart brick and mortar stores even.

  6. Use a post office box never a mail box . When I moved here a neighbor told me a local POS routinely goes down the road. Going through everyones mailbox. For a period of time we have to leave garbage for pickup at the end of the road. Someone was untying our trash bags and dumping them. Untied no bite marks from boo boo. Not sure what they were looking for. But very concerning. Im guessing prob looking for mail. Over the years we determined it was likely our bipolar neighbor who has demonstrated stalking behavior. We have not provoked him just do not associate with him which may have been a trigger. Yes we plan to move when possible.

  7. We have a PO box and recently, my wife discovered that our local privatized Mailboxes Etc. rents out boxes for less than the cost of the local Post Office. I have always used the Mailboxes Etc. because they have a functional fax machine and staff to help one make copies and ship items and are much more helpful than the Federally run Post Office. Our local business is a good growing concern used by local businesses and it is near the heart of town butt in a safer traffic location than our local Federal Post Office. (fewer homeless people and better parking situation and it is 2/10 of a mile further to drive). When I applied for and mailed out my resume and job application for my present job, I filled it out at home yet I used a private mail box business to do all the faxing and mailing as needed. Each year, I do my taxes through the same Mailboxes Etc. location. I do not use mailbox in my suburban location due to what was mentioned by Greg. Seems like every neighborhood has a few like that.

    1. PO Box is better than personal mail box, but I’m sure that the powers that can still track you down. If you’re just trying to avoid scams/hackers etc, then that is fine. If you’re wanting privacy from big brother then that isn’t good enough.

  8. Have my computer camera covered, buy more things with cash especially if large order. It is my business whether I buy 2 cans of beans or 24.

  9. Canadagal looks like I’m not the only one that thinks big brother can be watching lol! I have had the cameras on the house computers covered for years and the kids just laughed but understood why. With so many computer apps and capabilities being able to be turned on and monitored by others it makes sense. Also good not to download free apps that you’re not 100% sure of as they can hide stuff almost anywhere these days.
    BTW if you have a SKS sock boy may be coming for it soon! Lost mine in the lake!

  10. I need to do a better job on security. I still use my CC for most everything. I have stayed logged in to certain sites that I visit regularly. I do have loyalty cards for two supermarket chains. OTOH, I’m not on any social media. I am more aware of cell phone risks and often leave it at home or stash in in an EMP proof pouch. We destroy our names/addresses on any mail or packages we receive prior to discarding them, or we send papers/envelops through a shredder. Most late-model vehicles have GPS. Not sure what to do about that. Certainly you can be tracked as to where you have been and times. Its certainly a constant struggle.

  11. I shred all incoming mail with my name and address. I also shred mail that is generic with no identifiers so that mail from religious, political or other sensitive topics do not get recycled. If my fingerprints are on this mail and someone gets it from the recycle bin and decides to scrawl hateful messages on it, I may have some real explaining to do. It could also identify me and my home in terms of religious or political affiliation. Generic possibly gender neutral clothes for the public sphere and mothers should teach their daughters not to wear tight leggings and other revealing items. Inside the home, wear what you want. This goes for boys also – skip the designer hero worshiping sports based clothes and equipment in public – they do set you up for theft. If you have a car in the suburbs keep it in your locked garage. Kids should play in the backyard not the front yard without adult supervision. Bikes are not to be left on the front lawn or on the driveway. Kids and youth do not have the judgment so parents do need to firmly advise and insist. A front porch may be neighborly but a backyard patio is safer. You do not owe the world your presence or a smile or even politeness in some cases. Drop off charity items directly to the charity during daylight business hours and do not have them come to your home for free pickup as some hire ex-convicts and the pay is minimal so temptation is always there. Add the addiction issue and you may be dealing with a meth head who comes back to your house with ill intent.

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