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PO BOX To Hide Your Physical Address


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Some probably don't care, and I used to not care, but there are so many wackos out there that I want to keep my physical address as hidden as possible. Anyone with enough research can find it, true, but making it more difficult to uncover seems to make sense. I'm not a celebrity, but I still don't want someone that I talked to on the radio, or online, showing up at my door, no matter how nice they are. I don't like unannounced visits even by family and totally hate door to door sales.

That being said: When one gets a GMRS license there seems to be no way to squash the address given to the FCC. They proudly display it for anyone that wants to see it. Other agencies like the FAA which licenses pilots gives people the option of keeping the address private. That seems to make more sense. Unless I missed it, the FCC has no such mechanism. 

The solution of course is to rent a PO Box and list that as the address, or, if you own a business, use that.  If the FAA can do it, the FCC surely could. I'm told the rules don't allow it. Yet the FCC has all kinds of information on how to keep your private information private when using phones. They state "Protecting the privacy and security of the personal information FCC collects and uses is very important to us. "   but allow anyone with a computer to see your home address if you have a radio license. Seems to me this could be changed.

 

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It does seem like a security leak.

 

As a software engineer we work really hard to avoid leaking information that could be used to compromise other users.

 

In radio communications, with our call signs linked to our addresses, publically viewable, the FCC is leaking information. The act of identifying with a call sign gives "bad guys" two pieces of information: (1) our current general location; (2) our specific home address. A bad actor could determine that someone is identifying in Park City, and knowing that skiing typically takes all day, will know that person is not going to be home, in Salt Lake for a number of hours. The home may become a target.

 

Fortunately for me I have someone who stays at my place when I'm away, and my neighbors are watchful. And I have other "precautions" and monitoring in place. But it would be better if we weren't giving out so much information.

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1 hour ago, axorlov said:

I agree. And I know of one person not getting GMRS license and staying pirate because of that.

You mean he runs a "pirate" GMRS on a boat in international waters?!? 🤣

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27 minutes ago, MichaelLAX said:

 

Screen Shot 2022-07-05 at 10.33.32 AM.png

 

BUT: Does it allow you to hide your Last Name?!? 🤣

 

I mean, I didn't see anything that said it has to be your legal name.  I use an alias on most of my federal forms because they are public records. 

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If you change your address it will appear as an administrative update and the original address is still viewable. It just won't show up on the FCC's first screen or MyGMRS.  

If you are truly concerned about your address bring associated with your ID, maybe a new ID with a PO or mail service address is in order? Not sure about the process or rules for a new ID, though.  It might be a simple solution (other than contacts learning a new ID).

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27 minutes ago, WRDB702 said:

If you change your address it will appear as an administrative update and the original address is still viewable. It just won't show up on the FCC's first screen or MyGMRS.  

If you are truly concerned about your address bring associated with your ID, maybe a new ID with a PO or mail service address is in order? Not sure about the process or rules for a new ID, though.  It might be a simple solution (other than contacts learning a new ID).

There are a great many with multiple FRNs. Just search your local PD for one.

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You can also tie multiple licenses to the PO Box without issue.  

 

When looking for a PO Box (I used USPS), shop the Post Office that around you within a short driving distance.  The Post Office that is like 7 minutes from me, a PO was $65 every 6 months.  A Post Office about 15 minutes from me was $30 for 6 months.  You REALLY only have to go to that Post Office ONCE to pick up the keys, especially if its JUST used for GMRS/Armature licensing.   ANNND sign up for informed delivery and you can see anything going to it.   

I also use the PO box address for when I ship anything sold online. 

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When I started looking into getting a GMRS license I too learned that your address that you have to provide to the FCC is online for anyone to find. I don't necessarily think I am some sort of "wacko" maybe a little crazy but still didn't really want that information available to the general public. I rented a PO Box before I applied and listed the box # as my address. One cool feature the post office has started doing is allowing you to use the physical address of the post office and your box # as the "suite" so you can now receive packages not only from the USPS but UPS, Fedex, and others as well. I have all of my online purchases sent to the PO Box so I don't have to worry about my packages being taken before I arrive home. The PO Box is less than $100 a year and serves two purposes, works well for me.

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Honestly, I think you guys are over thinking this. If I really wanted any of your info, it's all Federal public record.  All I need to do is submit a "Right to Know" or "FOIA" request for all documents that mention your call sign or FRN.

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8 hours ago, marcspaz said:

Honestly, I think you guys are over thinking this. If I really wanted any of your info, it's all Federal public record.  All I need to do is submit a "Right to Know" or "FOIA" request for all documents that mention your call sign or FRN.

I get a kick out of this as well, as a quick Google search gets a lot more than many people realize. I had a guy in a fishing forum mention that the "blackout" headlight on his truck was on his "bugout rig" and that he could not say more due to OPSEC (Operational Security) reasons. A quick Google search showed this guy used the same screen name for other forums, and in one included a picture of his Texas Fish and Wildlife pickup truck, with the military style blackout light on the brush guard.

It was his issued work vehicle, not personal. Similar searches in radio forums result in similar results. In another radio site forum, a member posted many APX series radios, claiming they were for personal use (all 7/800 MHz). Well others then called him out, as they showed county names on the screens, and people found out whom it was and mentioned to the local departments that some of their "missing" radios may have ended up with a certain user. Online searches are easy, just using a call sign, and other details, as it is public record as you mentioned. 

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I don't think the concern here is that it's possible to find your address if someone is already targeting you by name.  I think the concern is more that anyone who hears your call sign as you broadcast it over an area that could contain anywhere from dozens of people to hundreds of thousands of people could successfully target you based only on the call sign...

 

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2 hours ago, Blaise said:

I don't think the concern here is that it's possible to find your address if someone is already targeting you by name.  I think the concern is more that anyone who hears your call sign as you broadcast it over an area that could contain anywhere from dozens of people to hundreds of thousands of people could successfully target you based only on the call sign...

 

 

True... but if people are worried about that, they may as well never turn a computer on ever again.  Tracking cookies are worse and available to more people.... and if you are using location services on your phone, not only can I find your house, I can find you work location, where you like to by groceries, where you really were when you told the wife you were going to hang out with the fellas...  I can even grab all of your account login information for banks, forums, social media, find out what you have been searching for and shopping for online, etc.

 

People hearing my call sign on the air is so innocuous compared to using a computer or phone to access this (or any other) website.  It's just not a big deal.

 

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10 minutes ago, marcspaz said:

People hearing my call sign on the air is so innocuous compared to using a computer or phone to access this (or any other) website.  It's just not a big deal.

I doubt there are many (if any) malevolent types just sitting around scanning Amateur and GMRS frequencies (if really complete, add marine and aviation radios on small boats/planes) just to hear call signs, look up the owner on the FCC, and then travel to some address (which may be a few states away) in the hopes of snagging stuff from a temporarily unoccupied home.

As others have stated, such a person is more likely to be sitting in front of a computer doing random searches, perhaps based upon addresses in nearby neighborhoods to find candidate targets.

 

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On 7/5/2022 at 10:20 PM, marcspaz said:

Honestly, I think you guys are over thinking this. If I really wanted any of your info, it's all Federal public record.  All I need to do is submit a "Right to Know" or "FOIA" request for all documents that mention your call sign or FRN.

True, an amazing amount of info is gathered on all of us and can be found by a determined person. I just want to frustrate anyone causally snooping into my affairs and not make it easy for them. A government agency that wants to find someone has even more resources depending on the need. Credit card and phone records, vehicle registrations, tax returns, cell phone calls and GPS data, etc. It's hard to be invisible these days.  

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LOL! Personal privacy is dead, for all the previously mentioned reasons and then some. 

Even your Internet gateway/router and/or IP address will provide location information to whomever knows where to look for it.

Feds, Hacker, stalkers... If they are determined, they can and will find you.  Heck there are websites that for a couple of bucks you can get seriously details on just about anyone with just a few tidbits of what you do know about them.  It's frickingn scary, but it's the world we live in. 😞

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12 hours ago, WROZ250 said:

Even your Internet gateway/router and/or IP address will provide location information to whomever knows where to look for it.

Though based upon where various B&M chains seem to think I'm located (Walmart, Lowes, etc. I think Google Maps is the source)... My ISP seems to report me as Portland (MI), 25 miles away (as the RF flies) from my actual location and halfway to Lansing.

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47 minutes ago, KAF6045 said:

Though based upon where various B&M chains seem to think I'm located (Walmart, Lowes, etc. I think Google Maps is the source)... My ISP seems to report me as Portland (MI), 25 miles away (as the RF flies) from my actual location and halfway to Lansing.

Thats because your Internet gateway/router and/or IP address does not give away your location as previously claimed, it gives away location information for your ISP.

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48 minutes ago, OffRoaderX said:

Thats because your Internet gateway/router and/or IP address does not give away your location as previously claimed, it gives away location information for your ISP.

Once upon a time ago anyone could lookup your IP address and it would show your name and address when you ran a certain type of query (not whois)... You still can today, but with the introduction of IPv6, you either need to perform a packet capture to view the payload or you need to do a reverse lookup to get the host name, and then search for that host name's location.  Not everyone knows how to do any of that, though.

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