Anonymous purchases are one more step in enhancing your privacy. Making an anonymous purchase can shield your identity, credit card, and give companies very little data about you. Anonymous purchases can withhold your identity, and prevent large amounts of fraud. Purchasing items anonymously isn’t only used for criminals and illegal items as perceived by the public. Anonymous purchases are made to shield your identity, and keep your data to you. In this day and age with the N.S.A. and many other data harvesting giants, the least amount of data you give out, the better.
Why do I want to purchase items anonymously?
When purchasing items online, physical or digital, you give out a lot of data. Names, addresses, phone numbers, date of birth, gender, emails, and many other pieces of sensitive information. When you input it into the website, it just disappears and says “Congratulations”, or “Order Received”. You don’t actually see where your data goes. What if the website isn’t trusted, what will they do with that data? If the website isn’t trusted, can they steal your card data? Or even if the website is trusted, will they sell that information to a third party? Is the data you just entered into that website online kept to them? Many valid questions may circulate when purchasing items online. With so many scams and fraudsters on the internet, how can you decide if a website is trusted or not?
Why you do want anonymity when purchasing
You may want to shield your credit card data from hackers or unknown websites. You may not feel safe inputting your sensitive information into the website. You may not want an item to show up on a bill of yours. You may want to shield your identity from the internet. or you simply may just want some privacy, or anonymity!
6 ways to purchase physical & Digital goods anonymously
List last updated (November 2, 2023)
- Privacy.com – Our Choice
- Iron Vest
- PrePaid Credit Card
- Gift Card or Exchange
- Use a Re-Shipper
6 ways to purchase physical goods anonymously
1. Privacy.com – Our Choice
Privacy dot com is a free virtual credit card service, this is one of the easiest ways you can get started making anonymous purchases online in just a few minutes.
A virtual credit card is basically a credit card you purchase with a set dollar amount on it, and it allows you to make purchases online. That’s right, the service gives you another credit card, with the amount that you have funded it with. Along with that, you can attach whatever name and billing address you would like to that card during checkout.
This allows you to purchase things with a credit card with near 100% anonymity. With a virtual card, both your identity and credit card information are kept anonymous.
There are several benefits to using virtual cards:
- You choose how much money is on the card
- You can set the card to expire. When the card expires, any remaining money is returned to your Privacy wallet so you can purchase another card.
- You can stop or pause the card in real time. This means you can stop the credit card at any time, and have the remaining balance returned to your Privacy wallet.
- You can set the card to only allow itself to be charged one time.
- Another benefit is that your bank does not know what you are purchasing, your bank statement will simply show PrivacyCom under billing.
You get a few layers of anonymity here. When you use a virtual card you can mask both your billing information and credit card information from the merchant. Another benefit, is your bank will also not know what you have purchased. Your bank statement will simply show a payment to PrivacyDotCom.
There is only one downside to virtual cards in general, and that is that you cannot refill them. So you always need to create a new card, or have the correct amount for however long you want to use that card. You can easily fund your Privacy account with either your bank or a debit card. They do not allow you to purchase with a credit card.
The best part is Privacy.com offers up to 12 free cards a month! So you can get started for free.
2. Iron Vest – Virtual Card
Another great virtual card service is Ironvest. IronVest is a decent service and offers a couple of additional services that Privacy does not.
IronVest seems to be a rebrand of Blur or MaskMe, an older service run by a privacy company known as Abine, if you remember that service. However, it is essentially the same thing with a couple of add-ons.
IronVest provides you with a bit of the full package offering quite a few services. To get started, IronVest offers virtual credit cards just like the service above. You can create virtual cards with a set amount, and spend them as you choose.
Where IronVest differs, is that they include an email masking service and a virtual phone number. These are both nice add-ons, as most websites now require a phone number. So it’s great to have a second virtual phone number you can hand out to websites.
As a prior user of MaskMe, their former service, I would say beware of using a masked email or phone service. They are tied to the service, so if you stop paying the monthly service fee, you will no longer have access to that phone number or those email forwarders.
The only downside to IronVest is they tried to pack a little bit too much into the service. They offer a password manager along with a lot of “protection” services. You also need to use their browser extension to utilize most of their core features.
The virtual card system works great and does not require the browser extension.
Sadly, Ironvest does not offer a free plan. To use Ironvest virtual cards, it does start at $6/mo. However, that gives you access to make 35 virtual cards, where Privacy charges $10 for 36 cards. So if you are using cards in volume, Ironvest has a pretty good deal.
To use IronVest virtual cards you just link your bank account. They do also allow you to fund your account with a credit card, but they do charge a $2 fee for it. Overall I would say Ironvest is a solid service if you are looking to create a number of masked virtual cards. The added virtual phone number and email masking are just a bonus.
3. PrePaid Credit Card
One great way to make anonymous purchases online is to buy a prepaid credit card at the store. The prepaid credit card is just as valid as any other credit card, and you can attach whatever billing information you choose to it.
Of course, you must remain anonymous and buy it with cash. But this is one solid way to buy something with a credit card and remain anonymous. Prepaid cards bought with cash are also virtually anonymous online.
4. Gift Card or Gift Card Exchange
One great way to stay anonymous during checkout is to try and use a gift card. A lot of websites take Amazon as a form of payment, so you can use an Amazon gift card to stay anonymous at checkout. Also, you can purchase a number of gift cards at stores for cash. There are even some websites where you can exchange a gift card for a service. This was more of a trend back in the early 2016-era, and isn’t as big anymore.
Gift cards can be used for an anonymity tool, and they can also be very useful when used properly.
Another great way to make an anonymous payment with a gift card is to use a gift card exchange service. There are multiple services online that allow you to sell your gift card, or actually exchange it for another gift card of service. This is a nice way to stay anonymous, by using a gift card as a form of payment. Some sites will allow you to sell your cards, which isn’t really an anonymous form of payment, since you have to receive that digital payment somehow.
I cannot vouch for the validity of any of these websites, as most look quite scammy.
Another great way to stay anonymous while purchasing something online is to use a Re-Shipper. A reshipper is basically a warehouse that takes your packages for you, and then ships that item to you. It adds an extra cost, but can add an extra layer of anonymity when purchasing online.
A reshipper is mostly used for people who cannot get items shipped to them. Say you live in the United Kingdom and you want to purchase something online, but the company only ships within the United States. You can have the reshipper receive the package in the United States for you, and then ship it to you.
You can also use this to your advantage to stay anonymous when making a purchase online. During checkout, you would use the reshipper address to receive the package. A great combo would be to use a Privacy card and have the reshipper receive the package. Then ship it to you. You would be totally anonymous to almost all parties during the transaction.
The only person who has your address throughout the whole transaction is the reshipper, whose job is to keep your address safe. Again, I cannot vouch for any reshippers as many of them offer a variety of different services and pricing structures.
The last and only true way to make an anonymous payment online is with Monero. Monero is a cryptocurrency, and without getting too technical, it’s truly the only anonymous cryptocurrency. Most of the blockchains can be tracked and traced in the modern day.
Monero is different, the blockchain is basically private. No one knows who is sending what to who. Its all encrypted. Monero for the most part, is the most anonymous form of payment. Now the hard part is finding a service that accepts Monero as payment.
Since Monero is a cryptocurrency, you’ll have more luck with websites that accept crypto at checkout. Most websites that accept BTC or ETH might have an option for Monero as well.
The hardest part is going to be acquiring your Monero anonymously. Monero is another form of an anonymous way to pay online.
How to purchase digital goods anonymously
All of the ways listed above can be used to make digital purchases anonymously as well. If you are going more on the digital side, you will be more likely to find a service that accepts Monero. The only truly anonymous way to pay!
Now there are many different levels of anonymity you may require when making a purchase. You may want to keep the payment off your credit card statement. You may think the site looks a little shady and you’re unsure if you should put your credit card in. You may want to keep your personal information from the website owner or shop owner. You may want to keep your info out of the hands of the massive technology conglomerates, even though they probably still know who you are. You may just want some peace of mind!
More about anonymous purchases online
Anonymous purchases online are completely safe. A lot of people see anonymous purchases as unrealistic, or only for criminal activity, but they can be used for everyday use. Anonymous purchases can save your identity, stop fraud, keep your data private, and prevent unwanted things from happening to you. If everyone had used a virtual credit card at Target, everyone could have stayed safe at the Target breach (assuming transactions were online).
Anonymous transactions are important. Whether you are just shopping at a large widely known website, or a smaller fishy website, privacy matters. Big corporations are not immune from hackers, and the same goes for smaller companies. Privacy is one thing you deserve online, keep it that way.