November, 2000- Various Topics
In This Months' Issue
- Our Feature Article - How to Legally Change Your Name
- Big Brother Targets PrivacyWorld
- Your First Step to Achieving Privacy (This month's promotion)
1. How To Legally Change Your NameChanging your name "by deed poll" is not necessary in Britain. Thankfully the right to choose your own name is one that hasn't been removed by pan European legislation — not yet. So before it does become illegal under a directive from Brussels, give the possibility of a new name some serious thought.
But what does "by deed poll" mean? The Dictionary defines a "deed poll" as a: "deed made by one party only, as a formal declaration". The dictionary states that a "deed" is just "a written or printed legal agreement". It's as simple as that!
In Britain, anyone who wants to change his or her name can do so merely by starting to use another name. Provided you have no intent to deceive or defraud, and are not assuming the identity of someone else, you are not breaking any law. The problem is that your passport and other documents will remain in your original name. So bank accounts or papers demanded by petty bureaucrats will usually have to bear that name. In many countries banks photocopy your passport or identification card. Even so, it is possible to acquire a foreign bank account with little or no identification, not only in offshore havens, but also in places like Austria and Portugal.
Two other options are open to someone wanting a new or second identity: acquiring a new name and passport in another country and using a company name. Many countries, particularly in Latin America, sell nationality plus a passport, often with little or no residence requirement. This may or may not be legal in your current country of residence. Some countries require you to renounce your citizenship if you take another nationality, but the process can be completely confidential. A name from a Spanish speaking country has the additional advantage of being an endless source of confusion for snooping officials. Why? Because in these countries a woman does not change her name when she marries, and children do not take just their father's name. Everyone has two surnames, first the father's, followed by that of the mother. As the father and mother naturally have two surnames as well, a child takes only the first surname of each parent. In addition, Christian names often include Maria (Mary) even for men and José (Joseph) for women. Lastly, a surname can consist of more than one word, but is still considered one surname. Take an actual example of a friend of mine: Ma. José Fernández de la Torre Madueño." "Ma. José" is all one Christian name; "Fernández de la Torre" is all the first surname (the father's); and "Madueño" is the second surname (the mother's). "Ma., is a commonly used abbreviation for "Maria," but if you didn't know this you might see "José" and assume it was a man's name.
If you are completely confused by now, imagine the scope for using variations of this type of name: one time "Madueño," another time "Torre Madueño," yet another time "De La Torre," none of which is the correct name. In Spanish speaking countries, records are normally kept under the first surname. Married couples have separate files, even if they are cross referenced, and when checking into a hotel in Latin America, no eyebrows will be raised if a man and woman have different names. But, expect problems if you walk into a bank in Gibraltar, Andorra or any Spanish speaking country as José Maria Gil y Gil and expect the cashier to speak to you in English.
An option, which is initially cheaper, is buying a ready made company off the shelf. The company documents are then used to open an offshore bank account. The bank will require your name only as an authorized signatory. Hopefully, no identification will be required, but even if it is, a signatory's name is not normally stored in the bank's computer. If you have acquired a second identity, there are now two layers of secrecy. One snag is that a company has annual costs, in addition to a setting-up fee, although it should be many years before these expenses overtake the cost of buying dual nationality.
What if you want a bank account in your own country under a different name? In Britain banks normally require a reference from another bank or someone who has an account with them. False names only work if they are already in the computer network. Banks' computers are linked to that of the Revenue, and at the end of the tax year feed into this electronic Big Brother details of balances and interest. This information is then compared with your annual tax return. A blind, deaf bank manager is what all freethinking people would like —someone prepared to open an account in any name, accepting large cash deposits without question. He or she would then transfer the money anywhere in the world without making embarrassing reports to head office, or the tax authorities. Unfortunately, bank managers these days have very little discretion. They are hemmed in by rules, and monitored by inspection of their records. Even if that compliant bank manager you befriended at the nineteenth hole accepts large amounts of cash without batting an eyelid — whether from friendship, or to increase branch deposits, or for a consideration — he or she cannot guarantee secrecy.
What if you don't live in Britain, and have a foreign residence permit under your own name to prove it? Then, after several years, you have no obligation to pay tax or fill in a tax return in the UK. Obtaining such a document is complicated and time consuming. I know from experience! Another option is to convince a bank in your home country that you are not resident. Take a package holiday in Spain, or buy a charter flight. Get an identification number ("NIE"), simply by going to the police station with your passport. This is the first step in obtaining a residence permit. But don't take it any further, just go to "Hacienda," the Spanish tax office, buy the necessary forms (yes, buy!) and volunteer to pay tax. The resulting documents, along with a Spanish address, should convince most British banks.
An address shouldn't be a problem. Use that of a hotel without naming the hotel — just the street and the number. Address an envelope to yourself with the name and address on a separate piece of paper taped at the back of the envelope. When you receive the letter remove the paper and add the name and address you want. If you do this just before proof is required you have a recent postmark. Armed with this sort of evidence you can acquire additional identification such as a library card. Or in Spain get a post office box ("apartado") for about 3,000 pesetas a year ($16). I used an "apartado" when having an affidavit witnessed at the British Consulate. The vice- consul asked "Can you live in a post office box", and he signed it with a smile. If your Spanish isn't up to doing all this yourself, find a lawyer ("abogado") or "gestor" through one of the expat papers in the south of Spain, such as Sur in English or The Entertainer. Needless to say, don't use this option if you've any intention of living in Spain. In that case, follow the local procedure in another country. And don't forget that there is a tenuous paper trail, as you have showed your passport to get the "NIE" and this number is on the Hacienda documents.
But Spanish bureaucrats are not noted for their efficiency. If your aim is to open an account in a less sophisticated country, various convincing looking souvenir "passports" are available. When offering such a document to someone who can't read English, appearance is more important than the wording. "European" and "Texas" passports are offered by mail order, which look very convincing. In a real backwater you might get away with it, but if not you can just walk out. You can even buy "passports" in joke shops or souvenir shops that look good apart from the words. PrivacyWorld offers a "camouflage passport". It has a suitably battered look, includes visa stamps and is supplied with extra identification such as a driving license.
The suppliers also include a disclaimer, stating that they hope you will never have to use the "passport." Does using such a passport with a second name constitute intent to deceive or defraud? Obviously you should never try to cross a border with one. But who knows if you are just opening a bank account? And in any case, how many people would admit to being taken in like this? A more expensive option is the World Service Authority, in Washington DC, a human rights organization which issues passports to stateless persons and refugees. If you make a contribution of about £200 you can obtain an impressive looking donors passport.
Remember that these days a passport alone may not be enough. So assemble supporting evidence, such as family rail cards (and snapshots of your family), season tickets, library cards, National Trust membership cards, letters on headed paper and business cards. The most convincing documents have photos, signatures or addresses. If they're not plastic sealed, get it done. A final warning: all this effort is wasted if even one person knows of your secret world. Someone who today is your loving spouse, favourite nephew, best friend or trusted business partner may one day hate your guts. The only person you can trust one hundred per cent is yourself.
2. Big Brother Targets PrivacyWorldWell, I guess PrivacyWorld has finally made its' mark in the world! We have been named as one of several "naughty web sites" that apparently rubs Big Brother the wrong way.
The United States of America (the biggest Big Brother) is so paranoid, that they feel our tiny little web site, based 100% outside of the USA, is a threat to their government.
Yes, we disseminate information that Big Brother wishes you didn't have access to. Yes, we offer 100% legal products that assist you in "Protecting Your Ass and Your Assets".
But to be mentioned on an anti- money laundering site? Do you think that criminals with a lot of money to move are going to use a WEB SITE to do business through? I think they have a more sophisticated mechanism in place and would rather keep a lower profile.
The truth is that the USA and other big governments do not want you to think for yourselves and take control of your own affairs. THEY want to take care of you and take your money at the same time.
We travel extensively in order to bring to you the most current information, ideas and services available in the world today. Because we are global, any one government can not control or prevent us, or you for that matter, from taking advantage of the unique opportunities we discover. The power of the web site brings that all in to your living room. That is what the governments and Big Brother hate. And they can't do anything about it. Except post it on a web site!
Yet you are an informed PrivacyWorld newsletter subscriber and I am preaching to the choir. John Bull
3. Your First Step To Achieving PrivacyNow that you know all about legally changing your name, you need a place to start receiving correspondence and mail in your new identity.
During our summer holiday, Privacy World travelled high and low around the world searching for new, better and less expensive products for our customers.
An old expatriate friend, long based in Southeast Asia, turned us on to a highly reliable, well establish mail drop for just $100 per annum INCLUDING $10 towards postage deposit. That is in reality, a $90 A YEAR MAIL DROP !!! This is an excellent price as most mail drops charge twice that for their services. This family run firm was established in 1975 and provides services for mostly former GI's and other expatriates, whilst offering a high level of service. Mail to and from North America takes 5 to 7 working days and even less to Europe, a very good service indeed.
The $100 fee is all-inclusive and includes a post office box address for normal mail receiving and forwarding purposes. All mail is forwarded weekly at ACTUAL POSTAGE COST. Again, this is a bargain as most mail drops charge DOUBLE postage costs.
Extra services are available, e.g. banking in privacy and drivers licenses for established customers. You even receive a FREE e-mail address from and within this Southeast Asian country, which further enhances this remarkable bargain and reliable service.
We were greatly impressed by this service and therefore recommend it to our readers. Best of all, you receive your Southeast Asian mail drop address in just 24 hours from the time we receive funds and a completed application. Just fill out the order form below or go to our comprehensive ordering form here.