We live in a time where personal privacy is a luxury enjoyed by very few people. It is more difficult than ever to adopt and maintain a low profile, especially after the tragic events of 9/11. Privacy seekers all over the world are trying to secure anonymity for their personal and professional activities. Only those with the funds, the commitment and the proper privacy strategy will succeed in eluding constant scrutiny. To live the life you want in privacy is no longer a right. It is a privilege we have to work hard to secure for ourselves. Everywhere we turn, opponents of privacy and freedom try to stop us in our tracks.
The days when people minded their own business are far behind us. Today everybody knows everybody else's business. It's something we have come to expect, something the majority have come to demand in all areas of everyday life. The worldwide media are continually poking and picking through the details and rumours of some poor guy's life. We have slavering paparazzi thrusting their cameras and flashbulbs into the face and private life of anybody who happens to be newsworthy for five minutes. We are besieged with fly-on-the-wall documentaries, news crews filming fatal car accidents, chat shows delving into taboo areas, interviewers asking the parents of a murdered child how bad they feel about it. And when most ordinary people don't get this daily diet of intrusion we hear them sounding off about their "right to know". Intrusion, invasion and infringement have become part of Western society's mentality. If an individual wants privacy he will automatically be accused of having "something to hide". Poking your nose into your neighbour's affairs is more acceptable today than his right to personal privacy.
This state of affairs can not be dismissed as the result of an overzealous, unregulated and uncontrollable media. The roots of the trend go deeper than that. Society's demand for the almost unrestricted scrutiny of others stems from the fact that society itself is a victim of intense scrutiny. Society's desire to contribute to and continue with the cycle is a kind of backlash. A child who is picked on in the schoolyard often grows up to pick on smaller kids himself. This is a common factor of the human condition in my experience. The victim can and does become the aggressor, the abuser, the agitator. The ordinary guy's taste for intrusive media is the result of Western governments' growing insistence on the surveillance, monitoring, recording and regulation of ordinary guys. The scrutiny of private lives began with the governments and has evolved into an accepted social characteristic which is considered normal and goes unchallenged in modern, everyday life. You can't open a newspaper without reading about new databases of personal information and the newest application authorities are putting that data to. News about traffic surveillance cameras, hi-tech security monitors, developments in closed circuit TV, genetic fingerprinting, banks of genetic information, ID cards, the increasing use of informants by authorities, telecommunications surveillance, easily recordable electronic smart cards or some authority's new disclosure requirement hounds us from one day to the next. The list of new developments could and will go on and on.
Some will have positive applications. I would not argue against a genetic database that identifies a rapist or a murderer. I would not argue against any measure that brings thieves and the rest of the criminal classes to justice and makes the streets safer for the rest of us. But the fact is that these "crime-fighting" tools of government are turned on innocent individual, live in a society constantly scrutinized by its government. Nobody is free from suspicion innocence is something to be proven and not presumed. Guilt is the overriding assumption in the age of technology.
Governments are waging a war against freedom. The private individual faces a situation his every move, his every activity, his every financial transaction and his every communication are of interest to nefarious, often invisible watchers and listeners. We can not walk the streets without a surveillance camera tracking our footsteps. We can not cross the majority of boarders without carrying documentation which proves we belong to a flag and a tax code numb can not go about our personal banking without the details being recorded on a database. We can not drive on the motorways without being logged and monitored by recorders. Huge records containing the details of our lives can be searched and scrutinized in a matter of minutes by someone we have never met. Our daily purchases at the store are put onto a computer. Every day brings with it stricter, more intrusive measures. And each faceless bureaucrats are discussing the next moves. We are not free. Privacy is dead for people in the 21st century!
If you had any doubts before, you can throw them out of the window now. Big Brother government, in all his many disguises, has locked and bolted the doors to the corrid power. Answerable to nobody, he marshals his armies of spineless bureaucrats and he watches everybody like a hawk. Big Brother has made himself comfortable. His plans are for and unchallenged reign. Bloated on the proceeds of your hard work, skimming his share of your assets and your investment portfolio, Big Brother is watching you and he has in, too much in technology to be turned back now. The only ones who will evade his scrutiny are those who are Prepared Thoroughly. Only those who go about their personal affairs with stealth, secrecy and guile, who take precautions in advance, who distance themselves from their activities, who keep out of sight and who adopt a low profile will dodge Big Brother's attention and salvage their freedom in today's unfree world.
About Our Mail Drop Service
Mail DropNet's services has been devised with the search for personal privacy in mind. We do not offer an antidote to all Big Brother's intrusive measures but our web site, products and services does give you the information and potential addresses needed to secure private mail communications and a bit more besides. 35-years of servicing our customers and our intensive research have lead us to pick out the very best Mail Drop services available worldwide. We have weeded out those that have proved they can not be relied upon and those we feel unable to recommended for whatever reason. We have made every effort to ensure that the information contained within our web site is accurate and current. We feel confident that anybody wanting to protect their mail will find our Mail Drops, products and services an invaluable comprehensive privacy aid.
Your Mail Can Put You At Risk
The mail of everybody is of interest to Big Brother and the authority figures who represent him. Your communications, if exposed to him, can inform him of your whereabouts, your contacts, the activities you are engaged in and all sorts of information that could lead to further unwanted investigation. To the trained observer your mail offers a birds-eye view of your circumstances and the type of personal information any sensible individual likes to keep to himself.
There will be people, through ignorance, blind trust or stupidity, who will tell you that "the government doesn't do that sort of thing, the government is here to look out for you and your interests". These sentiments fall ludicrously short of the truth.
Privacy campaigners do sometimes succeed in pushing legislation through parliaments which is designed to protect the individuals right to privacy. In the UK and elsewhere, governments have instituted their own Data Protection programmes. But the individual who believes the government will stick to these regulations or resist the continual temptation to skirt round the laws in whatever way it can get away with and whenever it can is ill-informed and sadly mistaken. Gross misappropriation and misuse of mail is as common as cream cheese, especially in the US where the authorities and little bureaucrats in grey suits can not bear to be in the dark about any US citizen's activities.
The US authorities have used "mail-covers" for a long time. This informal surveillance technique does not require a court order. The mail-carrier simply notes return addresses on envelopes. From this basic record, intelligence officers can see which individuals or what organization a suspected criminal or a completely innocent individual is receiving mail from. The authorities probably have a list of suspect names and addresses. When I say list I really mean library. Any piece of mail containing either a suspect name or a suspect address will receive the kind of special attention innocent individuals can do without. By using the mailcover the authorities can set about finding out who is a contact, client or confidant of the suspected person or business.
Postage stamps of countries which are recognized offshore banking centres will alert suspicion and will probably lead to the addressees' details being passed along the line to the tax office. The mail has not been read or interfered with but it has already offered the authorities valuable information that could put an individual at risk of investigation, exposure, prosecution or imprisonment. Big Brother governments work to a principle of guilt by association. Your mail is just one of the ways by which the authorities can actively connect you to people and organizations they have an interest in.
The use of address bars has increased in the US over recent years. These address bars, which work in a similar way to the bar-codes on food items at supermarkets, make it easy for the authorities to sort through mail and isolate suspect items for minute scrutiny. Every individual will be obligated to ensure that his mail is user-friendly for government snoopers.
These are merely the US governments' methods of checking mail whilst remaining within the boundaries of their own guidelines.
But when push comes to shove the US authorities are not adverse to seeking official approval to actively tamper with mail. There are documented cases of the Inland Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Criminal Investigation Agency (CIA) having mail "accidentally" misdirected to their offices, Then they open it and record the contents before resealing the envelope and sending it to its intended and proper destination. Of course drug dealers, money launderers, pornographers, pimps and fraudsters are promoted as the targets of this very often speculative ruse. But tens of thousands of innocent people with nothing to hide and a right to privacy are also falling foul of this intrusive meddling. The vast majority of people settle down to read their mail at the breakfast table harbouring the ridiculous notion that they are the first to read its contents. Don't you believe it. Half a dozen beak nosed paper shufflers in some ill-lit government snooping unit have digested the contents before you.
The US authorities have solvent chemicals in spray form at their disposal. The solvents are sprayed on to suspect envelopes so that they become translucent. Anything that shows through from inside can be noted and acted upon if the authorities are so inclined. Implements resembling knitting needles are inserted into the flaps of envelopes and used to extract the contents by winding the paper onto the thin body of the tool. These can then be read and replaced by reversing the process. The recipient of the mail will be none the wiser. The authorities will also steam open envelopes. This process can be mastered by any ten year old child and you can rest assured that governmental security agencies will have turned the operation into an art form.
These activities were only carried out in the US previously, but 11 September 2001 changed everything, and for the worse. Other western governments have, in the recent past, proved extremely eager to follow the example set by the Biggest Brother of them all. There is no reason why they should deviate from this established pattern now. If it isn't already upon us, it is only a matter of time before such tampering of mail and the ideology behind it become the latest major "export" from the good old US.
Whichever way you look at it, whether you are an innocent member of society or an individual engaged in activity likely to incur the wrath of authority, your mail presents government with the opportunity and the temptation to glean information about you without letting you know. Your mail puts you at unnecessary risk.
Some individuals will spout the usual empty cliché; "if you've nothing to hide you've nothing to worry about." This is a touchingly magnanimous attitude but one that sentences the rest of us to continued government snooping and spying.
Innocent individuals with nothing to hide that could possibly result in criminal prosecution, even in the least tolerant jurisdictions, still value the right to privacy nevertheless. Many appreciate being able to conduct their confidential business and financial affairs in private. Many of these people consider personal mail worthy of privacy, perverse as it must seem to Big Brother and his cohorts. Many are engaged in activities of a legal, recreational, political, educational or consumerist nature which, though not in any way illegal, ought to be protected against any form of intrusion if that is what they desire. Unfortunately the mail system as it exists at the moment can not offer any of us this security. It has ceased to be a tool for the masses. Today the traditional mail system is loaded in Big Brother's favour. Unless we take steps to protect ourselves our mail will continue to be exposed and will remain vulnerable to whichever Big Brother agent happens to take an official or malicious interest in us.
The United Kingdom is currently in the process of attaching postal codes to persons and not to addresses henceforth! In essence, the mail follows YOU wherever you move to. You can rest assured this be will be taken up in America and the rest of the western world in the not too distant future.
Protective Measures You Can Take
As outlined in the above section, intrusive authorities possess a range of options when it comes to tampering with mail. It is probably fair to say that no amount of safeguarding tactics are going to prevent strenuous levels of interference once Big Brother and those of his ilk have settled their attention on to you for whatever reason. If mail falls into their hands and they have or feel they have reason to be interested in the contents, they will have, or will endeavour to invent, a way of accessing the enclosed documents. It is hard to envisage Big Brother's agents giving up easily and failing to make the most of such a golden opportunity. But there are some steps you can take to try to prevent their intrusion, to make their jobs more difficult and which will succeed in alerting you or the recipient of your outgoing mail to the possibility that mail has been tampered with en route.
Security envelopes are a useful deterrent to prying eyes. These items have a dense and bold pattern printed on the inside, thus rendering the contents unreadable through the envelope. But, such a simple measure will only put off the very lazy mail tamperer. The technology allowing snoopers the luxury of almost invisibly opening and resealing envelope flaps does exist. To prevent this, you could seal the envelope with strong Scotch tape. This will make the snooper irritable. Close the flap down with super glue as an extra sensible precaution and you really will give him something to think about.
A deceptively simple method of protection is one of the most effective. Those people who spend their working lives interfering with other people's mail on behalf of their paymasters are highly trained individuals who have enjoyed a thorough education at the taxpayers' expense. But they are not magicians. There are limitations to their talents and ingenuity. Using a number of envelopes placed one inside the other, with some placed upside down will give the exponents of this noble art a real headache. It is possible a piece of mail protected in this way would succeed in defeating even the most sophisticated means' of mail entry at the snooper's disposal. The solvent sprays used by mail interceptors, which I touched upon in the previous section, can be defeated by simply wrapping the contents in a sheet of aluminum foil. When the envelope is sprayed with chemicals and becomes translucent the contents remain unreadable because they are protected by the metallic barrier.
Of course after the recent anthrax by mail attacks in the US and elsewhere, who knows what tactics the authorities are going to take now!
If you want to play games and catch the snooper out you should wrap the contents of the envelope in carbon paper. If chemical sprays make contact with the carbon paper the pigments will run, and the tampering operation will be blown. It is unlikely that you will actually receive this spoilt mail. The authorities will not expose their dirty tricks to an "unsuspecting" public quite so blatantly. More likely the mail will mysteriously vanish, from trace never to be seen again.
Using a marker pen to address the envelope is also a wise move. The inks used in this type of pen also run when exposed to the chemical sprays favoured by mail interceptors. Different inks react differently to the various types of chemicals available to the government's meddlesome snoops. The individual with utmost security on his mind could write the address, the return address and the letter inside the envelope in different inks. Then if sprays are used one of the different inks will probably run. These simple precautions can greatly hinder, foil or expose attempts to read or glean information from your personal communications. But, as is the case with most things, prevention is better than cure, and by using a Mail Drop facility you can protect your mail and dodge any abuses of your privacy altogether.
What Is A Mail Drop?
A Mail Drop is a secure address, recognised by the postal service, where you can rent a box and effectively use it as a postal address. One with which you are not physically associated or obviously connected. The operators of the Mail Drop service will receive mail on your behalf. They will either store it until you call to collect or they will remail it to a third party address depending on any prearranged agreement or instruction. In effect, a Mail Drop is an alternative to your residential or business address and can be used for business or personal purposes.
Different Mail Drop companies will offer different types of services. Some will only be open during office hours. Others will supply you with a key to your personal mailbox enabling you to collect your mail at any time of day or night. The alternatives are endless and by using our various services you will find a particular form and range of service to suit your individual needs. Some Mail Drops will have storage space for large parcels, others will not. The individual must assess his own needs and then source a Mail Drop service that can fulfil his criteria.
The term "Mail Drop" has negative connotations in the minds of many brought up on a steady diet of James Bond, espionage and big-time villains. The truth of the matter is very different. Mail Drops can be used for criminal activity in much the same way as the telephone system can. But Mail Drops are completely legal in the eyes of the law and are used for a multitude of legitimate reasons. They are a business tool for some, a secret place to receive personal mail for others. The use a Mail Drop is put to is strictly a concern for the individual. But whatever the use, a Mail Drop is no more nefarious nor deserving of criticism than your average exdirectory telephone number. A Mail Drop gives the user privacy and helps to avoid unnecessary risk. It is only peoples' distrust of other peoples' privacy that lends itself to the bad reputation of Mail Drops in certain areas of society.
Many people assume that if individuals using Mail Drops were of an upstanding nature then they would use a PO Box Number obtainable at any main Post Office. But these same people fail to realise that Mail Drops offer a far better, far more flexible and secure service than the Post Office. Few of them realise that:
Mail Drops do not have waiting lists for their boxes as opposed to the Post Office who do.
Mail Drops offer an actual street address as opposed to a simple box number. This simple detail can elevate your business credibility or residential status.
The client can phone a Mail Drop to establish whether there is mail to collect or not. Wasted trips are avoided. Many Mail Drops will accept outside carrier packages. The Post office will not. Mail Drops will willingly forward your mail. The Post Office will not provide this service. Post Offices will reveal details about their box holders to absolutely anybody upon request. Mail Drops respect their clients' need for privacy and will refrain from such openness. A Mail Drop will remail letters to any destination you instruct. Not so the Post Office. Many Mail Drops will also provide a range of extra services, the details of which will be available upon request. The Post Office will not.
Mail Drops are slightly more expensive than PO Box Numbers but the benefits are clear to see. You only get what you pay for and with a Mail Drop you receive not only privacy but also a range and quality of service that can benefit personal and business activity.
What Can A Mail Drop Do For You?
Primarily, a Mail Drop provides a street address where sensitive communications of whatever nature can be received confidentially. Whether you want to avoid hassle, whether you want to avoid associating yourself, your residential or business premises with a certain item of mail or a particular organisation, or whether you simply want to take the precaution of avoiding any possible authoritarian interference, a Mail Drop can secure the privacy you need.
The variety of functions a Mail Drop can be put to are limitless. The following case histories will illustrate some of the range of benefits you could take advantage of with access to such a service. Some of these may provide a blueprint for your own needs. Or you might recognise how you can benefit in a slightly different way. Howsoever the following examples assist you, it will become clear that a Mail Drop, however you use it and for whatever reason you use it, will put you one step ahead of the game.
Let us say that you are dissatisfied and disillusioned with your dull and unrewarding marriage of fifteen years. Variety is the spice of life and you feel it might be time for a complete change of either partner, geographical location or entire lifestyle. Broaching the subject of divorce with your good ladywife is neither easy nor worth putting yourself through if you have not entirely made up your mind.
If you are a cautious individual you may want to take some time to assess the financial situation such a move will place you in. You may need time and privacy to make suitable preparations. You might want to make enquiries with solicitors, to prepare draft copies of the divorce papers in order to study them before making your final decision. You may need to ascertain the finer points of the legal procedure surrounding cases of child custody. You might want to make a series of arrangements for the period after you break the news.
Any information of this nature landing on your doormat first thing in the morning could land you in big trouble or at the very least a situation you were not properly prepared for or ready to deal with. It might destroy your overall strategy. You will lose the element of surprise. It is the easiest thing in the world to get caught out. At one time or another it has happened to all of us. The lessons to be learnt are generally painful.
Instead you could prepare for unforeseen contingencies in advance. You might not be the first to the post on that particular morning. Your spouse might open an envelope containing a copy of draft divorce papers sent by your legal advisor by mistake or through suspicion or curiosity. Envelopes can and do get damaged in the postal system. These are scenarios you can not plan for or ensure against. Placing trust in the handling procedures of the mail services can be a risky business. Especially if the mail is being delivered to a place where it could end up in the wrong pair of hands.
By renting a Mail Drop you eliminate all these risks and you avoid potential trouble. You can collect and inspect your mail at your leisure, safe in the knowledge that only you and the sender are aware of the communication and its nature. Rental costs are a small price to pay when they guarantee peace of mind and constitute such a vital aid to thorough and private preparation.
Let us assume that you are a fiscally shrewd individual with your business interests and your bank accounts held in reputable and well publicised offshore centres. Or we will assume you want to find out deals of the services available in these countries. From time to time you are going to need to receive correspondence from these institutions. Those communications are going to be recognized instantly by any of Big Brother's postal monitors.
As we discussed earlier, the stamps from these offshore locations will give the game away. If such communications are addressed to your residential quarters or to your business offices, the authorities will not have to expend too much time and effort associating you with offshore activities. Even pen pushing bureaucrats can put two and two together. You might not be doing anything wrong. You may well have prepared your operations carefully, professionally and cautiously. However, a low-profile is an essential prerequisite if you are to continue with your affairs unhampered. Why offer the authorities the opportunity and excuse to take an active interest in you and your business? Why burden yourself with their scrutiny, their meddling and their tiresome questions? If information is passed on to the tax office, you will no doubt attract a great deal of close attention. Your mail will be under rigorous surveillance. Your accounts will be picked through with a fine tooth comb. You might well have to learn a very expensive lesson. You might even face criminal proceedings. All this because you neglected to pursue your business dealings in a fitting confidential and discreet manner. All this because you failed to adequately protect your personal privacy.
A Mail Drop will save you all this unnecessary hassle and stress. Opening a Mailbox account will place distance between you and your communications with the offshore centres. Anybody taking an interest in your affairs will not be associating you with an address that, as far as they are aware, you have no connection with. Using a pseudonym as an additional precaution will place even more clear water between you and those with an unhealthy interest in your life. Simple and inexpensive preparation will deflect attention away from you as a recognized and recorded individual. Attention to detail and safety now will prevent you from having to be sorry later.
You might want to research insurance details for your personal affairs or your business interests. This will involve contacting a number of companies and brokers. This seemingly simple operation can result in numerous headaches. Once an insurance agent has your details he will hold on to you like a limpet. No amount of shaking will put a stop to his constant stream of phone calls, unannounced visits and the "great new deals" he wants to talk up with you. You could be faced with several of these types all vying for attention, all knocking themselves out to sell you a deal and make a buck or two for themselves. Your name or that of your organisation will be placed on a mailing list and you will be receiving their junk through the post for evermore. You or your staff will have to waste valuable time dealing with these characters. Whatever deal you strike will be of little or no compensation for the amount of harassment, stress and hard sell spins you will inevitably have to face. A Mail Drop will eliminate each of these headaches in one fell swoop. A Mail Drop will ensure that you are always out of the office, always unavailable to take visitors or calls and always able to remain beyond earshot of another sales pitch you already know back to front.
Mail Drops are an ideal way to fend off agents of any kind. You might, like so many of us, have a genuine interest in a product. But again, like so many of us, you might want to avoid sales reps like the plague. What better way of conducting your consumer activities, on terms that suit you, than by taking advantage of the services offered by a Mail Drop?
You could be facing financial difficulties as so many people are at the moment. This doesn't mean that you have lost your entitlement to privacy. You can still benefit from protection, keeping a low profile and maintaining privacy levels wherever possible. Mailing precautions are one area of your dealings you can easily protect with a Mail Drop. If you prepare yourself properly you can keep distance between yourself and creditors, the taxman and other interested parties until you have addressed the problem, assessed your options and decided on a course of action. A Mail Drop can give you the time and breathing space all of us require when faced with difficulties. A Mail Drop will put distance between you and whoever you want to keep beyond arms length. Be your motive personal, financial, business or legal, an alternative mailing address is a useful tool for covering your tracks and eluding those who might be looking for you or inquiring as to your whereabouts. You can continue to attend to your affairs by both mail and phone safe in the knowledge that nobody knows your location or where you are resident. Anonymity and invisibility are hard to come by in the modern world but a Mail Drop is a relatively cheap way of obtaining both and placing yourself beyond the shackles that hold the majority of society in check.
Your recreational tastes might carry potential problems and hassles of their own. Your viewing and reading material might include items of a pornographic nature. Whilst we accept that this is an innocent and harmless pastime, others do not share our liberal outlook. Certain sections of every community see pornographic material as evil and a contributory component of declining moral standards and crime. The people who receive such material are often vilified and condemned as depraved, perverted and deviant. Quite often the people receiving pornographic material on a regular basis are the same people who most vigorously condemn it in the public arena.
Many pornographic items are solicited and sent through the post. This situation could lead to nasty and embarrassing repercussions. You might be a prominent and successful businessman, admired by your peers and respected by those with whom you do business. If it were discovered by the wrong persons that you received pornographic material your reputation could suffer. The consequences this would have on both your business and personal affairs could be catastrophic. You can protect yourself by making use of Mail Drop facilities.
At home you may have a spouse or a partner who does not share your taste in the exotic and the erotic. They could discover the material in a torn package, their suspicions may be aroused by a constant' stream of plain brown wrappers. Your relationship could suffer from such needless exposure.
You may have children in the house who might not be mature enough to be exposed to your tastes. Children have a habit of meddling with items that do not belong to them. They have an innate curiosity with the mail. Instructions not to touch could have the opposite effect. Should things go wrong you will be left with a great deal of embarrassing explaining to do. Using a Mail Drop will mean you avoid all this.
If you are receiving pornographic material, your name and address will appear on some form of record be it a mailing list or an account sheet. You can never be sure when correspondence relating to a new offer, or an unexpected account query will flutter innocently through the letterbox. You may have taken the precaution of expressing your unwillingness to receive unsolicited mail. But mistakes can and do occur. If you are not expecting a mailing, there is nothing you can do to prepare for its safe and discreet arrival, nothing you can do to lower the chances of the contents being discovered. Nothing, that is, unless you have a secure address that the communication can be delivered to for your personal attention as and when you decide.
Allowing pornography to be sent to your residential address under your own name also exposes you to the possible attentions of the authorities who keep a hit list of names and addresses which receive pornography on a regular basis. The authorities and their snoopers know pornographic material when they see it, whether it is under plain cover or not. A Mailbox address and an alias make you, as an individual receiver, harder if not impossible to trace for all of these characters.
Membership of sex or swingers clubs might also be safer if approached from the cover of a Mail Drop. If you should choose to carry out the correspondence from your home address using your real name, the same repercussions will apply here as with pornography. Many clubs of this type publish lists of members along with their residential details. This could cause a great deal of embarrassment at home if, for example, another less well-adjusted member of the same club takes it upon themselves to pester you, turn up on your doorstep unannounced and create a scene. The game would certainly be up. Such membership lists will also attract the attention of blackmailers and hate-mail merchants. Most swingers clubs will have at least one police officer masquerading as a genuine customer on the membership lists. You don't want him or her knowing who you are, where you live and what you get up to in your spare time. It is none of their business but they will not see it that way. You must act if you want your affairs to be private. Looking at the facts in black and white, it is astounding that anybody considers sending or receiving any form of sensitive mail without the cover and protection a Mail Drop affords. If your identity and your whereabouts are hard to trace then you will prove harder to follow, harder to recognize and harder to find. That is the ultimate consideration when evaluating the worth of a Mail Drop. Neglecting to recognize the need for privacy and the tenfold benefits of a Mail Drop could present you on a silver platter to whichever agency or individual has an interest in you and your activities.
Membership of unfavoured political organizations and religious institutions, subscriptions to publications frowned upon in mainstream society, communications with lovers, dealings with government officials, receipt of materials that could cause offense, in fact any dealing that might bring repercussions is best detached from your everyday existence. It will prove safer when dealt with from behind the cover of a Mail Drop.
Employers and business owners can also use Mail Drops for a variety of purposes. They may want to receive correspondence they don't want employees to be aware of or exposed to. The; can place dummy job advertisements in the press to see which, if any, of their own employee; apply and which remain loyal. If there is a need for anonymity at the beginning of sensitive business negotiations, a Mail Drop can deliver it. Products and services can be sourced, price lists, terms and conditions received without the need to reveal which organisation is doing the sourcing. The applications a Mail Drop can be put to by the thoughtful businessman abound.
A Mail Drop in foreign climes can be used as an overseas head office. A street address in at exclusive business area can add prestige and status to your operation; often a serious consideration. Similarly in your home country Mail Drops can serve as branch offices it different towns and cities. Another benefit of this is the disparity of costs between using a Mail Drop and setting up a traditional office. You will save money without losing prestige.
Anybody who takes a look at his personal and professional life and assesses the level o privacy he receives using the usual mail channels against the level of privacy he would like to enjoy will identify a deficit. We can all isolate times in our lives when the postal service has caught us out or let us down. We can all look into the future and identify situations we might face which may require extra caution and discretion. Erosion of privacy is not some fringe issue identified and exaggerated by part-time campaigners at grass-roots level. The privacy issue is a major bone of contention in all areas of society. Businessmen and professionals are addressing the issue and so are individuals with an eye for realities. Subscribing to a Mail Drop service is not a sophisticated form of paranoia, it is a simple and inexpensive form of sell protection. Governments have proven time and time again that the rights of the individual count for nothing when Big Brother scents something he doesn't like. Protect yourself, keel him off your trail, ensure your mail is as private as it can be. If you think you have something that might best be kept hidden then hide it. A Mail Drop is a useful, if not essential, addition to
your PT survival kit.
Setting Up Your Mail Drop
The first step in this process is to evaluate how much privacy you require for your activity and the distance you want to place between the authorities and yourself. If you are merely replying let us say, to contact advertisements in newspapers and magazines and you do not want you existing partner to find out, a Mail Drop situated in your local town should suffice. Alternatively: you may want to avoid being seen entering and leaving the Mail Drop by someone you or your wife knows and decide that more security would be preferable. You might find a service in town or city a few miles away suits you better.
In contrast, if you have the taxman breathing down your neck and you expect a degree of real trouble you might want to consider a Mail Drop in a foreign country or even another continent The further away your Mail Drop is from you, the harder it will be for anybody to connect and associate you with it and the mail that arrives there. You must bear in mind that depending on how you propose to collect the mail a good deal of travel, time and expense might have to be worked into the equation. However, the extra expense involved in lengthy trips to collect you mail might well be worthwhile. If you are being looked for by the authorities and you are using a Mail Drop in your own locality you are running the risk of somebody recognizing you becoming familiar with your movements, finding out where you are living and possibly exposing you to the agencies and the individuals that are looking for you. There are unfriendly eyes and ears everywhere. Anonymity is your best protection and is worth the extra investment.
When you make your decision you should take into account that third world countries and the more relaxed European nations such as Greece and Spain are not really worth considering. Their postal services are inefficient and mail takes ages to arrive if it hasn't already been stolen.
If you are considering the US as a possible location for your Mail Drop, take into account that, as usual, the authorities lead the way in restrictive legislation. In some states clients must turn up in person, show ID and fill in forms before they can open a Mail Drop facility.
Moreover, the post office has a list of many Mail Drops on a computer disk. This information is loaded onto the computers of banks and credit reference agencies. If these addresses are used to obtain bank accounts or credit those applications will be flagged and at the very least rejected. You will not be able to secure credit cards from listed Mail Drop addresses.
When using the US, we suggest you contact the various establishments and speak to them to see what they have go to offer. Despite Big Brother breathing down everybody's neck, there are still some deals that can be pulled off. Let us know of any interesting information or experiences you have.
Once you have settled on your own requirements you can then set about contacting the particular services that might suit your needs and then determine which offers you the best deal and the most flexibility. It is always wise to select a Mail Drop service which has been in operation for at least three years. Mail Drops appear and disappear with disconcerting regularity. If a service has been around for three years and has a fair number of existing clients, it is likely to stick around. An established operation is unlikely to just up and disappear leaving you to begin the process all over again.
When contacting a Mail Drop service I strongly recommend you do not do so in person or from an address to which you can be connected. Do not have details of the Mail Drop services sent to your home. Information of this nature may find its way onto a computer database or a manual record and could ultimately land you in just the kind of bother a Mail Drop is designed to help you avoid. Secrecy, caution and discretion at all times are the secrets of success as far as making yourself invisible is concerned.
Enquire for details over the phone and from one that is not your own. The last thing you want to do is to leave a paper trail leading the authorities to your doorstep. Modern phonebills show itemised calls. A detailed investigation into your affairs will reveal calls to Mail Drops and your secret address will be exposed. We also advise against using fax machines. Fax messages can be intercepted in the same way as telephone calls.
Our advice is to use a phone in the comfortable and quiet lobby of a large hotel. These phones are available for public use and it is-highly unlikely that particular calls can be accredited to a particular individual. Do not use a credit card to pay for your calls as transactions are held on record and contribute to damning paper trails.
Hotels can also be used as a place to which you can have mail sent. Simply book a room a week or two in advance and instruct the Mail Drop companies to forward the details you require to the hotel for safekeeping until your arrival as a guest. Similarly you might inquire whether your bank would be prepared to hold mail for you until you call to collect. This should be easy to arrange, particularly if you are a long-standing, affluent and valued account holder.
Avoid contracts like the plague if possible. These documents are kept on file and represent another paper trail which will link you to the service and will blow your cover if they fall into the hands of an adversary or an investigator. If you contact the service by phone in the first instance, contractual signings and wrangles will be easier to avoid. When you begin to use the services , pay all your bills on time and work toward an understanding with the Mail Drop operator. You may well find he will not force any contractual obligation upon you if he likes the steady and reliable payments you make. You might approach the Mail Drop you are looking to secure by phone and pretend that you live and are calling from another country and be prepared to give them an address in that country as your "home" address". This address should be another Mail Drop address. You should instruct the Mail Drop you are attempting to set up not to send any mail to this "home" address. Tell them to do so would be impractical as you spend a great deal of time away from that address traveling on business. Instead, suggest that you will arrange to collect the mail they are holding for you as and when you visit their area on a business trip.
You might find other ways of avoiding putting your signature on the dotted line. Let us know of any that you come up with.
Use An Alias
For security purposes I recommend using an alias. If you are doing nothing illegal then you have every right to call yourself whatever you wish. Your real name could turn out to be the weak link in the chain of security you have established. A committed investigator, be he from the private or public detection industry, will find it easier to locate your whereabouts if you are using your real name. It is easier to link you to specific items of mail if they have your real name emblazoned across them. It is an exceptionally easy operation for the authorities to trace an individual to his residential mailing address. Even if you move to a new address and you take out a forwarding order with the post office you can still be located by the professional investigator. The Post Office will not divulge to him where you are but there are means at his disposal. The investigator can take advantage of a particular delivery system which requires the postman to make a note of the address to which he finally delivered a parcel. The investigator could later pay a backhander to see this. By using an alias and a Mail Drop you will not attract the snooper's attention in the first place.
Similarly, the snooper can organise for items of mail to require' signature at the point of delivery. If an agent of the authorities suspects that you are the John Smith he is attempting to locate and he has a sample of your signature, your handwriting and a postman happy to provide a quick peek for a few bucks, this might be one method he will use to establish whether you are his target or not. If, in the first instance you had used an alias, his attention would not have been directed toward you because your alias is not connected to any investigation he is carrying out. By adopting an alias you lower your profile, you prevent anyone from establishing who you are and you can play hide and seek with governments, officials or individuals who wish to pinpoint you and your whereabouts for reasons of their own. Nobody will connect you to just another name on an envelope. To all intents and purposes you are invisible and untraceable. Your alias can take the heat off you.
When opening your account at a Mail Drop you should avoid giving your real name if possible for the reasons we discussed earlier. If you have camouflage ID then consider using it. If not, try to ignore requests for proof of identity. As you become an established client it is probable that the Mail Drop will let the matter drop. However, you must remain vigilant. Do not pay your account with a cheque or a credit card that has your real name on it. Instead pay by postal order or with cash. Once you have established an assumed identity be careful not to let the cat out of the bag with a simple error. I also recommend you do not under any circumstances send a cash payment via DHL. If an item of mail containing cash arrives or is headed for a country with currency restrictions, either DHL or customs officials will open it and this will probably land you in all sorts of trouble and attract the official attention you can well do without.
How To Retrieve Mail
The retrieval of mail is the most delicate point of your Mail Drop operation. It is an area prone to mistakes and errors of judgement. The way you collect or receive your mail requires a great deal of care and consideration.
As we have already discussed, do not mention your address or phone number to the Mail Drop service. These details will almost certainly be held on file if you freely provide them. Complete discretion is your safest bet. Investigators will use bribes to obtain the information they want. A junior, disillusioned and hard-up Mail Drop employee when approached in this generous manner could prove to be an eager source of useful and interesting information. Investigators are notorious for their cunning and imaginative approach to detection. One popular method of finding somebody who doesn't want to be found is to advertise in the national press saying that the target is heir to a fortune and that he should contact the "solicitor" placing the advertisement. If he should fall for the ruse he will probably need a solicitor for a completely different reason than he originally suspected. If you think of your pursuers as clever, manipulative, sly, morally deficient, sophisticated, committed, wily and tenacious then you will not be too far from the truth and you will be prepared accordingly.
Underestimate your adversaries at your peril. Unscrupulous investigators, if they are already on your tail will probably set up a mail cover on the addresses of your family, friends and associates. Return addresses which appear on mail sent to these addresses will be diligently noted and checked out. If you are indiscreet enough to contact people from your past the game will be up very quickly.
Remember that Mail Drops are legitimate business operations. If faced by police officers investigating a serious crime, be it actual or bogus, the Mail Drop operators will help in whatever way they can. Help your by not helping them lead the authorities to you. Keep personal facts private. Drugs, pornography and money laundering are the current "evils" of society against which anti-privacy legislation is implemented, promoted and rationalized. Any investigation into you and claiming to be connected to any one of these areas will render ineffective any confidentiality, discretion or privacy you assumed existed between yourself and the Mail Drop operation. Legitimate Mail Drops do not want to be associated with any of Big Brother's pet hates or the criticism which will inevitably follow if associations are made.
When considering how to retrieve your mail you face two options. The mail can be forwarded to a third party address or collected from the Mail Drop offices.
If you decide to have the mail forwarded you must have another address where it can go to. The same privacy considerations will apply to this second address as applied to the locating and setting up of the first. This could involve further planning and expense. You might decide to use a hotel or your bank as the final drop destination of your incoming mail. Do not provide the first Mail Drop with a fictitious address or one where your mail is not expected. This can only lead to confusion and loss.
It is essential that you always know exactly where your mail is going and that you make sure it is expected and causes no alarm when it reaches its destination. If you are operating under an assumed name be careful this does not compromise you at the second address. If you are known at the final destination for the mail it will look very strange and unnecessarily suspicious if it is addressed to somebody else. As always, detailed and thorough preparation is all.
Collecting mail from a Mail Drop presents problems too. Collection of mail involves physical presence at the Mail Drop and physical connection to the items in question. Therefore, forethought is imperative. The shrewd operator can minimise a large proportion of the risk if he sticks to sensible and safe guidelines.
Do not be a creature of habit. For your own good do not allow people, particularly employees of the Mail Drop, to become familiar with your routines. Better still, do not have any routines for people to become familiar with. If you are going to collect mail from the offices of the Mail Drop arrive on an irregular basis and arrive without prior warning. If you can not predict where you are going to be at a certain time nobody else will be able to.
If you are lucky enough to have trustworthy friends and acquaintances, you might consider sending one of these to collect your mail for you. In this way you, can avoid visiting the Mail Drop and having to leave with mail that will incriminate you or cause trouble. Hotel bellboys or taxi drivers might be prepared to perform the collection in return for a suitable cash payment. Alternatively, if you have managed to set up your Mail Drop without actually visiting the premises you could inform the operator that a friend will collect your mail and then collect it yourself in the guise of your friend. The Mail Drop operator is likely to take you at your word and will automatically assume that the collector, i.e. you, is in no way connected with the mail arriving at his premises. As long as Mail Drop operators are paid on time they are quite happy to keep their nose out of your arrangements.
If you rent a box at a Mail Drop with 24 hour access which provides its clients with, a key, you can turn up at off-peak hours when the offices are unmanned to collect' your mail. This way you stand far less chance of being observed and will succeed in further lowering your profile.
You might come up with variations on our advice. It is for the individual to make his own arrangements depending on his particular circumstances and requirements.
However, if you opt to collect the mail yourself in person be aware that your activities may have been discovered or are at least suspected by whoever or whatever it is you are trying to avoid. If, when you collect your mail, you do not recognise return addresses on envelopes or you are unsure whether mail is actually mail you have solicited leave those items in your box after memorising the details. You can always collect them at a later date if subsequent investigations alleviate your suspicions. Do not leave the premises with any item you are unsure about. It is better to be safe than sorry. One popular ruse amongst investigators in the US is to mail a large, bright parcel to Mail Drop boxes they are suspicious of. When the unwitting box user leaves the drop, with his easily identifiable package, officers follow him and any privacy he has secured for himself has disappeared due to a distinct lack of attention to detail.
Testing Your Mail Drop
Once you have chosen a suitable Mail Drop, agreed terms and made suitable provision for the retrieval of your mail, you must then begin to test the operation. I recommend an initial trial period of three months. This will give you ample opportunity to test the service's reliability and to minimise the amount of money you stand to lose if the service does not measure up. These tests do not have to involve sensitive correspondence. It could be mail that you have prepared and sent yourself.
Issue instructions to the Mail Drop and review the diligence with which they respond. This will not only test the level of service they provide but will also familiarise them with receiving explicit instructions from you. Issue precise instructions when you require services which differ from the usual process. Dry runs are essential. You can not expect the Mail Drop operatives to be as intelligent or blessed with common sense as you are. Test a series of instructions and see how adeptly the service can react to different scenarios. If you fax instructions, follow this up with a phone call. Assess the friendliness and the attitude of the staff. Are they cordial or are they brusque and flippant? By testing the service you let the Mail Drop get used to you and the way you like things to operate. By testing you are giving them an opportunity to adapt. This makes for an easier, more fluent and successful working relationship at a later date when more could be at stake. You will doubtless have criteria of your own to test. Only when you are completely satisfied with the level of service and discretion involved should you begin to use the Mail Drop for its real purpose.
How To Establish Yourself As A Valued Client
Mail Drops, like any other business look extremely favourably on clients who pay their bills on time. Prompt payment can work wonders and ensuring that you do this is the first step toward establishing yourself as a valued client and building up a good rapport. If at all possible pay your account (i.e. three monthly) in advance. Failure to pay bills on time can and will bring things to a grinding halt. The Mail Drop will be displeased and far less likely to put themselves out for you in the way they would for a prompt payer. It is in your best interests to keep the Mail Drop happy with your account.
If you have used a cover story when opening the Mail Drop account make sure the manner in which you pay corresponds with your earlier claims and disclosures. If you have told the Mail Drop you are residing in New York, Paris or Bangkok, make sure postal payments have corresponding postmarks. The less grounds you give anybody, including Mail Drop operators, for suspicion the less closely they will scrutinize your activities.
Be as cordial and pleasant with staff as you would expect them to be with you. Mail Drop employees, like any other workers, are far more prepared to go the extra mile for a client who respects them and uses his manners than they are for a client they can not stand the sight of. For the rude, ignorant and offensive client it is only a matter of time before his attitude impinges on the level and quality of service he receives. Nobody likes to be of service to a belligerent ignoramus. Too much familiarity is not advisable but small gifts to key Mail Drop employees, be they financial or otherwise, could well buy you a modicum of loyalty if, for example, a private investigator takes it upon himself to snoop about asking questions and offering cash sums for information.
Use the knowledge and social skills you have picked up in other areas of your life and activities. If you can exploit a Mail Drop employee's personal interests, then do so. A happy working arrangement is a good working arrangement and worth the investment of time and imagination.
The Benefits Of Being A Valued Client
More often than not, Mail Drops provide all manner of services to valued clients whom they can trust to pay their bills. These extra services can be invaluable to your business or personal affairs. Many Mail Drops will undertake secretarial and accounting work, effectively providing the roving entrepreneur with a home from home office. Some Mail Drops will even run your business affairs if the price and conditions are right.
The majority of Mail Drops will offer simple banking services, phone, fax and telex services, personal phone lines, a relay call facility and answering machine services. There are some Mail Drop facilities which will undertake to organise the incorporation of companies. Computer space can be rented. Many will provide shelf or safe storage space.
Translation services can often be found at Mail Drops. Many such Mail Drops are happy to resource services and products for valued clients, they will undertake to solicit information on your behalf, they will remail bulk loads of your correspondence ensuring the postmark of their district appears on the envelope and not your own. They will ship out products. For valued clients the possibilities are endless. Mail Drop services are flexible entities, geared toward serving the client and represent a useful business and personal tool enabling the user to tend his affairs with the optimum of privacy and a minimum input of time, money and labour.
How To Tell If Someone Is Using A Mail Drop
Use of a Mail Drop can indicate that something is amiss. Of course someone using a Mail Drop might be doing so for entirely legitimate reasons. Use of a Mail Drop is not proof positive of criminal wrongdoing. However, fly by night operators find Mail Drops useful tools when undertaking to commit fraud or a confidence trick. Criminals can and do engage in any number of convoluted ruses from the cover of a Mail Drop facility. One common instance is that which involves the criminal advertising a product or service in the press, collecting the cash and cheques sent with orders through his Mail Drop and then disappearing leaving unfulfilled orders and a string of would-be customers without refund or redress.
It is beneficial to know how to spot a Mail Drop address and to be forewarned about the possible motivations of the user and the consequences which could result from correspondence with him. There are some warning signs which can alert you. Any address which contains a box number, in whatever disguised form, is probably a Mail Drop. Without prior knowledge of the physical location of the address, certainty is impossible. Suite numbers appearing in an address might well in many instances be a clear and correct indication that the address is that of a Mail Drop facility. On the other hand, office buildings in southwest America and probably other areas use a suite numbering system ordinarily and quite legitimately. Similarly, an address which purports to be located in a prime business district is unlikely to contain an apartment number. But again, if you are not entirely aware of the location you can not base your conclusions on complete and utter certainty. There are no hard and fast rules. There will be cases which dispel every formula. But it is as well to be aware of certain trends. If the address which has aroused your suspicion is local, look under "Mail Forwarding Services" and related headings in the Yellow Pages. If the address is some distance away, a local library will often have a complete set of national phone directories for public use. In the case of an address not appearing as a Mail Drop in phone directories, do not think of that as conclusive proof that the address in question is not a Mail Drop. Mail Drops appear and subsequently disappear again in a very short space of time. They often complete this brief life cycle between the appearance of one directory and the next thus missing a listing altogether. One final method of checking on the validity of an address is to check the classified services section of the publication the suspicious address appears in. The same Mail Drop service may well appear there as an advert in its own right. Indeed, it is worth scanning the whole classified section. Mail Drops are used by many different individuals and businesses simultaneously. Another service might operate from an address with only slight variations (usually the box number) from the one you are investigating. This would convincingly suggest the address is indeed a Mail Drop. If you send mail to what you suspect might be or is a Mail Drop address, be cautious and do not disclose any personal information in the ensuing correspondence. There are countless circling sharks just waiting for tidbits from the unwitting and the unprepared amongst us. Your personal details falling into the wrong hands can leave you completely exposed to blackmail, harassment, embarrassment and much much worse. At all times stay true to the PT ethos and keep personal facts private.