Don Ray's 104 Privacy Tips (Ray)

Copyright 1998 by:
Don Ray
P.O. Box 4375
Burbank, CA 91503-4375
(818) THE-NEWS
Fax: (818) 843-3223


Please visit my new homepage:

Don Ray is author of Public Records Primer and Investigator's Handbook, California Edition.
He has also written Checking Out Lawyers -- a must for people who want to know how to check out anyone . or . how they can check you out.
Another publication is Diggin' Up Gold on the Old Paper, a workbook for interpreting public documents correctly.

(These books are available at:

  1. Don't sue anyone

  2. Remote voice mail

  3. Consider not voting

  4. Don't enter contests

  5. Get married overseas

  6. Private post office box

  7. Postal Service P.O. box

  8. Don't get a radio license

  9. Don't get parking tickets

  10. Don't file for bankruptcy

  11. Get a confidential marriage

  12. Get on "No junk mail" lists

  13. Don't return warranty cards

  14. Don't have a messy divorce

  15. No more personalized plates

  16. Don't run for political office

  17. Non-published phone number

  18. Don't write letters to the editor

  19. Don't end up in U.S. Tax Court

  20. Use a door slot or locking mail box

  21. Don't forget to return library books

  22. Sign up now for Caller ID Blocking

  23. Check your credit report once a year

  24. Don't use "preferred customer" cards

  25. Go to traffic school if you get a ticket

  26. Get on "No soliciting phone calls" list

  27. Don't go to court to change your name

  28. No phone number on voter registration

  29. Don't complete customer survey forms

  30. Don't contribute to political campaigns

  31. Have parents' assets put in living trusts

  32. Don't get a concealed weapon's permit

  33. At college, have your address restricted

  34. Don't broadcast your CB radio call sign

  35. Don't fill out a forwarding address form

  36. Tear up the carbons on your charge records

  37. Don't own an airplane or boat in your name

  38. Use an out of state corporate filing company

  39. Don't get behind on your mortgage payment

  40. Have assessor's tax bill sent to someone else

  41. Don't dial 800 numbers from a secure phone

  42. Don't use your ATM card to purchase anything

  43. Don't pay someone to be in a Who's Who book

  44. Don't get into disputes with landlords or tenants

  45. Have pet licenses registered in your kids' names

  46. Don't do something so stupid that you'd get sued

  47. Don't show up the day they shoot school pictures

  48. Remember that building permits are public record

  49. Don't register your pattern at the department store

  50. Don't put identifying symbols/stickers on your car

  51. Put out your trash in front of someone else's house

  52. Request to be omitted from reverse/city directories

  53. Don't drop business cards in the "Free Lunch" bowl

  54. Have documents notarized in another state or county

  55. Use P.O. box for driver's license and car registration

  56. Give all your things away to your kids before you die

  57. Be creative with your occupation on voter registration

  58. Don't put "Student of the Month" stickers on your car

  59. Don't hire young baby sitters who live near your house

  60. Print post office street address on checks w/box number

  61. Don't put your Ham radio call sign on your license plates

  62. Consider not printing an obituary on deceased loved ones

  63. The most private form of business is a limited partnership

  64. Have a password put on your phone/utility/credit accounts

  65. Don't use personal property as collateral to borrow money

  66. Instruct magazines/organizations to not share your address

  67. Don't incorporate in California (or your state of residence)

  68. Obliterate your name that's been written on your gas meter

  69. Don't have garage sales at your house if a permit is required

  70. Don't give out credit card numbers over the phone or modem

  71. Don't apply for citizenship in the area where you want to live

  72. Use money orders and your P.O. box when you use mail order

  73. Don't say anything on a cellular/cordless phone that's sensitive

  74. Don't say your phone credit card aloud when others are around

  75. Don't ignore the calls of bill collectors or government agencies

  76. Instruct family members on limiting information they volunteer

  77. Don't place classified ads displaying your secure phone number

  78. If you kill yourself, address your suicide note to someone specific

  79. Don't sign guest registers at museums, national parks, caverns, etc.

  80. Don't give out your Social Security number without protesting first

  81. Settle or win all lawsuits quickly to eliminate outstanding judgments

  82. Remember how easy it is for people to listen in on baby monitor radios

  83. Imagine everything you type as e-mail being put on highway billboards

  84. Put your real estate into a family trust-but one not named after your family

  85. Don't get behind on alimony/child support payments and then leave the state

  86. If you must give the bank your mother's maiden name, give some other name

  87. Don't file fictitious name statements-use your real name (Don Ray Plumbing)

  88. Read every contract or application and look for waivers of your right to privacy

  89. Use just your zip code and P.O. Box number for return address (Box 91503-4375)

  90. Don't announce your phone number on your outgoing answering machine message

  91. Don't rent videos from stores that require personal information-use cash deposits

  92. Don't put your name on the outside of your apartment mail box-put it on the inside

  93. Use short version of your name when you can (Bill Jenkins-not Wm. J. Jenkins, Jr.)

  94. Use a notary public who personally knows you and doesn't need your driver's license

  95. Don't let sales clerks write down your drivers license number on credit card purchases

  96. Get a copy of everything The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse puts out (1-619-298-3396)

  97. Don't write checks at Radio Shack or other stores that computerize your address and phone

  98. Don't permanently stick company, school or apartment complex parking stickers on you car

  99. If you plan on moving into another house you're buying, have a straw party buy and hold it for you

  100. Don't be a best man or maiden of honor. If you do, scribble your address on the marriage certificate

  101. Don't bank where they allow phone-in computer access using Social Security numbers as passwords

  102. Make sure you have a current copy of Don Ray's A Public Records Primer and Investigator's Handbook

  103. Have your main phone line installed in a nearby friend's home and use call forwarding to your secret number

  104. Get a copy of Don Ray's Checking Out Lawyers to learn more about public records.