The internet gives you access to an incredible amount of things. However, with all that it offers, it’s crucial to conscious of your digital privacy to maintain it.
Sites like PayPal offer some protection when making online purchases, but it isn’t completely anonymous. But is there an easy way to hide your address when sending money on PayPal?
There are many reasons why you want to hide your personal information online. You might want to maintain anonymity when providing charitable kindness or you’re purchasing something obscure from a website you don’t trust.
PayPal, however, does not technically offer a way to hide your personal information when making transactions. There are several options you have to hide your information using the site even without a direct way of doing so.
It depends on how you’re sending money, however. Hiding your address when making transactions is pretty complicated but sending money to family and friends is not.
If you use the Family & Friends option to send money through PayPal, your address will not be revealed. They will see your name and email address, but more personal information will be hidden from them.
Create a Second Dedicated PayPal for Anonymity
This option is technically in violation of PayPal’s terms of service, so use it at your own risk. If you’re caught doing anything suspicious, there’s a possibility your PayPal account will be blacklisted. Using it discreetly will likely go unnoticed, but the risk is fully your own.
Create a primary PayPal account that is tied to your real information. This is your main account that has all of your information on it, like your email, home address, and bank account.
Your secondary account should be made with a fake name and address. You won’t need to verify the account if you’re making transactions exclusively through PayPal. You can send money back and forth between your primary account and your secondary account.
If you’re uncomfortable using an outright fake name, you can use an “AKA.” This allows you to use a name similar to your own that is not outright fake while still hiding the name on your license, social security card, or birth certificate.
Use your secondary account when making purchases or sending money where you want it to be anonymous. If you need to have items shipped to you and don’t trust the seller with your personal address, have it sent to your local post office for you to then pick up.
Create a PayPal Business Account
PayPal allows you to create a business account through their site without having a formal business and license.
Creating a business account operates similarly to creating a secondary, dummy account. What you’ll do is create a business email and name, which you’ll use to make the account. If you need to have items mailed to you and want to maintain privacy, it’s recommended to get a private mailbox.
Your local post office should have P.O. boxes available in either small or large sizes (depending on whether it’s for packages or simply letters). However, your UPS or FedEx stores should have similar products available.
Making a PayPal business account is not the same thing as creating an actual business. If you don’t register a company or LLC, you won’t need to go through any government programs.
If you are using it for your business, you’ll need to register eventually and create a trade name for more official transactions or to open merchant credit accounts.
For Added Privacy, Use Digital Currency
PayPal is not designed to offer strict privacy and anonymity online. If you’re truly concerned about online privacy when making transactions, either avoid the sellers that make you concerned or use a cryptocurrency.
Digital currency or cryptocurrency is much more complicated to use or get started using. However, it is your best bet for full privacy. To ensure full privacy, though, you need to use cryptocurrencies properly. If you don’t, it cannot be guaranteed that your privacy is maintained.
These are used most often to make payments and transactions online. Cryptocurrencies are online tokens that hold monetary value and maintain privacy using cryptography and a decentralized user processing system. The tokens are privately verified to hold value and are traced back through each transaction.
To get started with cryptocurrency, you need to download your specific currency’s unique wallet. You can “mine” coins by working in exchange for the company; however, it’s simplest and safest to convert the money you already have into their format.
Your best options for “private” cryptocurrencies are through Monero and Zcash. These are the companies that pride themselves on complete privacy. The more mainstream and successful currencies are more expensive, and also less private.
If you want to use Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, your only option is to purchase them on crypto exchanges (similar to a stock exchange, but online). These larger companies require you to register and verify your identity using private, personal information, which kind of defeats the purpose of anonymity.
Use Prepaid Gift Cards
Prepaid Visa Gift Cards are essentially universal and can be purchased online or at gas stations. They’re anonymous because they don’t have personal information attached to them. However, you can often run into issues with them being accepted.
These gift cards have the added benefit of using them both online and offline, in-person.
Use Virtual or Masked Credit Cards
A virtual credit card is more convenient than prepaid gift cards since they’re connected to your real account. They work by hiding your personal information and have the same protections offered by your credit card company.
These are not physical credit cards and are simply virtual numbers that you pay for. It adds a layer of protection to prevent your real account from being breached.
The virtual number still faces some risks. If you’re concerned about your virtual card number being compromised, you might have added difficulty getting a refund on your payments. Closing your virtual account is incredibly easy, though, since you’re not closing your account altogether. This will also remove the need to have a new credit card sent to you.
Prepaid Debit Cards
Using a prepaid debit card is another good way to make anonymous transactions online, such as for a VPN or other online service that doesn’t require anything to be mailed to you. You load these cards with money beforehand and don’t connect them to your bank account. They function similarly to prepaid gift cards, but they can be refillable.
Be careful when choosing an option to get a prepaid debit card, as not all services are anonymous. Some companies require you to link a credit card or provide your social security number, especially when you get a refillable card. This defeats the point of maintaining privacy and may want to be avoided.
These cards often include incredibly high fees for transactions. They provide you with a physical card that can be used both online and offline.
Paying With Cold, Hard Cash
If you can get away with not making your payments online, cash is still an incredibly popular option. It is totally anonymous and widely accepted. There are some risks involved, especially when totally ensuring anonymity. Because it is untracked, mailing cash can easily be mishandled or lost. Using cash payment services, like Western Union, is safer but does have some fees involved.
While PayPal itself does not have a specific method to hide your identity while sending money or making transactions, it is not wholly without privacy protection options.
If you’re simply sending money to friends or family through the app and between accounts, you can set it so that won’t share your address with that person. They’ll still see your name and email address, so it’s not completely anonymous, but it does protect your privacy.
If you want a more secure, private account, you can make a PayPal account using a fake name and address. This is technically against their terms of service, so do so at your own risk. Using a P.O. box on your account does hide your address even if it is not fully anonymous. You can use an alternate, but not fake name or an “AKA” to add some privacy protections.
You have other options if privacy is a big concern for you, or you’re making risky transactions. Though, you might want to consider avoiding those retailers if they are so concerning to you. However, you can either get virtual or prepaid debit cards that can provide greater anonymity.
For the highest amount of privacy and security online, cryptocurrencies are probably your best bet. You can exchange the money you already have into the digital currency of your choice and store it in the digital wallet app online. Not all currencies offer equivalent amounts of privacy, so make sure you do your research. The more mainstream and successful sites are more expensive and also less private.
Internet anonymity and privacy are incredibly important in this day in age. It’s only becoming more important as we increasingly rely on internet services. Knowing how to protect your data privacy is crucial.