Back in the old days (when I say “old” I mean a few years ago), making anonymous payments was pretty easy. Dealing in cash is about as anonymous as it comes. You could also get a money order or a bank check and mail it to whomever you needed to and it couldn’t be traced back to you. In those transactions, when money exchanged hands, the transaction was not recorded or linked to anyone.
In today’s online world, where credit card transactions are the norm, it’s not as simple. Your credit card is linked to you, as are other forms of payment such as wire transfers or PayPal.
We recently worked on a case where we needed to purchase services for several thousand dollars and we needed to do it completely anonymously. Also, we wanted this transaction to appear as “normal” as possible so as not to raise any suspicion from the party that we were purchasing the services from, so ideally, we wanted to pay via credit card or PayPal.
Since it was an online transaction, sending a money order or a bank check was not an available option.
PayPal was also out, as we would have to register our name and address with the transaction.
And using a personal credit card was not an option, as we didn’t want any of our names attached to the transaction.
Prepaid Credit Cards
After some research, it seemed like a prepaid credit card was the best option. But after some more research, we learned that many of these prepaid credit cards must be associated with a name/account.
However, we found a card offered by American Express, called the Serve card, that you can buy at stores such as CVS, Walmart or 7-Eleven and simply add cash in the store, up to $2,500 per day or $5,000 in a month. American Express told us that we would not be required to provide a name or identification to use the card. There’s also a nice little video that explains how it works.
So there you have it – $4,000 worth of services paid anonymously with a prepaid credit card from American Express.
Just makes me wonder how easily crooks can launder money or how easy it is to make anonymous bribes.