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Re: Anonymous payment scheme


There are a couple of issues here.  One is whether you could get a
debit card with another name printed on it than your own.  Sandy
Sandfort and some others have suggested here that this would be legal
and possible already as long as you don't do it with the intention to
commit fraud.  You can open a secured account by mail and give a false

I'm not sure what you do in this situation if they ask to see some ID
when you try to use the card.  This would be rather embarrassing, it
seems to me.  Sorry, I guess I left my drivers license in my other
pants... Or, never mind, try this card.  That other one was from before I
changed my name...

The other issue is whether you could set up a payment system which did
not require social security numbers from the participants.  I think
this is much more questionable.  Although the phone cards and some
other restricted usage systems are apparently legal, bank accounts seem
to have many more restrictions.  Barter and scrip systems are also
heavily regulated.  All these laws involving reporting requirements,
etc., were passed to help the government track the flow of money.
There is no way the government is going to make an exception at this
point.  In fact, I suspect that if the limited systems expanded to
where they were used for general payments, the government would crack
down.  I recall reading that just such a crackdown occured in Las Vegas
when casino chips started to be accepted for non-gambling payments.

So, you may be able to have a form of anonymity from the person you are
transacting with, but I don't think you can be anonymous from the bank
and from the government.  And personally, I am more concerned about the
bank and gov't tracking my spending patterns than whether the guy I buy
gas from knowing my name.  The bank has a lot more information about me
which is much more threatening to my privacy.  A nom de guerre VISA or
debit card does not seem to help this problem.


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