One of our tribe members recently wrote to me. Her concern was privacy. Her correspondence is below. She has some really good ideas on the subject, I think, and some questions…
I’d love to hear everyone’s take on increasing and maintaining privacy in this digital age. (Thank you, V., for the very kind words. I’m glad the books have proved beneficial.)
Regarding Old Money Guys and Gals, most keep their social media profiles squeaky clean. Some are deleting social media accounts altogether. (LinkedIn seems to have become essential for working professionals.) Email accounts are being shared less and less. Texts and Signal messages are stepping to the front. Online photos outside company websites are thinning out.
My own experience and adjustments are unique for a few reasons.
First, when you leave the U.S. and no longer have a ‘domestic’ home address, a lot of personal information–street addresses and telephone numbers–becomes obsolete. Junk mail is not an issue. Scammers calling or texting are few and far between.
I still get the occasional phishing email, which is easy to spot given my streamlined life. I only have a few vendors that have access to my financial/personal information: the French healthcare system, the French consulate, the mobile phone company, the electric company, the lovely people at American Express, and a few banks, most of which are not in the United States. All of my correspondence is done through their secure portals. Most have double and triple step security protocols.
Furthermore, I try to develop ‘personal’ relationships with everyone I do business with. Not ‘personal’ in the sense of having lunch with them at their home, but ‘personal’ in the sense that I’ve had social conversations with them, at least. (As an example, I had coffee with my banker here in Paris the other day.)
They’ll know it’s me when I call because I’ll ask about their tennis game or a recent vacation. I’ll know it’s them because they’ll be able to discuss these things in an informed manner. That’s one of my privacy/security tricks. It also helps in resolving any issues that arise. It also makes life richer. Perhaps something to consider.
Given that I’m an author with a public profile, I try to make sure everyone knows who I am…without anyone knowing that much about me. This is easier to do in Paris, where privacy remains sacred, while promoting books to an audience that is largely in the United States, where privacy is up for grabs.
I’ve been lucky so far. I’ve had no problems, and don’t expect to have any in this area. So enjoy the correspondence I received. Again, I’m looking forward to everyone sharing a trick, tip, or hack that helps them preserved their privacy.
Hello Mr. Tully,
I’ve been a great fan of your writing since my husband and I discovered the Old Money Book a few years ago. We bought all your books and have even extras to distribute to those in need of your guidance (wink, nod)! I read your blog quite frequently and always enjoy the content.
Of all the Old Money principles, I’ve lately been most interested in privacy. It’s especially interesting now, because of all the ways our privacy is being eroded in the digital age – I can’t keep up! As a new mother, I worry about what the future brings for our daughter in this regard.
I’m curious to know how some of the OMGs who read your blog (and their families) tackle the issues of privacy, both online and offline. As you know, being as private as possible is extremely important when you have much to lose.
I do have a few suggestions of my own, but would love to know if your readers could make any suggestions to ‘dial it in’ even further.
A few of the privacy steps we’ve implemented:
– Name obscurity – we chose to give our daughter an unused first name. Her legal name is a very common, classic name. My husband has a private/family first name and always says: “If someone calls me by my legal first name, I know they don’t know me.” This helps with reducing fraud attempts. We felt as though having an unused first name was important, especially for our daughter. If someone googled her “public” name, the wouldn’t find any of her “private” information that could be found on data aggregators like MyLife and Spokeo.
– Data aggregator erasing service – We have used a service that seeks and requests removal of your personal information (even home address!) that can be found on aggregation websites like those I mentioned above. Our daughter is too young for this, but we feel it’s essential for anyone 18+
– Using our own URL for an email server. If you type in our email URL, you are taken to a ‘parked’ page with zero content.
I’d love to read other suggestions from your readers. Thank you for your consideration!
All the best to you,
V. (name withheld for, you know, privacy reasons…)