Should you use a false identity?
A False Identity
This is something we normally associate with criminals or people in the security services, but with social websites and the all invasive Internet, it might be more useful if we all create a false identity.
Name. Use a nickname with your surname instead of your real first name whenever you are on the Internet. Make sure it begins with the same initials as your first name. Have a false address, but one that is nearby where you have a relative or good friend who will pass on any mail which might arrive for you. Phone: If you have to give out a telephone number, use your cellphone number. Make a list of everyone you give out the cellphone number to as you might want to change it every two years when you change your phone contract. When you make a list, you need to put their email address on the list as it will then be easy to send out a blanket email to those who need to know your new mobile number.
Email address: Get a Google Gmail account. This is useful as it allows you to add a “+” sign before the “@”sign and add an identifying code as part of your email address. For example, I signed in to Majestic Wine once, and used firstname.lastname@example.org. Six months later I got an email spam from Aviva addressed to email@example.com. I telephoned the CEO at Majestic who was dismayed (I wonder why) and said he’d ring me back after making enquiries. The story when he rang me back was that an ex-employee must have sold the list on! I now use numbers as these don’t stand out so much, such as firstname.lastname@example.org and have a list of who I sign on with these numbers. Very useful.
History: Write out a potted history which is similar to your own but different enough to foil any criminals who may want to impersonate you in your non-Internet life. But keep it to less than one A4 page in size Leave room for adding extra data when a website asks for what you feel is intrusive data.
Birthdate: Change your date of birth to one in the year after or before yours. Use your relatives or your friends birthday month and day so it is always in your memory. In other words, change it but make it easy on yourself.
Facebook: If you have a Facebook account, your friends don’t bother to read your personal information there, so slowly change it all to fit into your new identity. Strangers who pretend to want to be friends will harvest this incorrect information and you will have protected yourself from these people.
This article is not intended to be the “be all and end all” of what needs to be done. It is intended to get you thinking along the right lines to protect your identity from thieves.