Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

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Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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Thanks for all the information you provide! I downloaded a VPN for my smartphone based on your advice. But, I was wondering if I was in a car accident and the police try to ping my cell, will it give an accurate location?

-From Aaron Z.

Answer: Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question because it depends on the specific smartphone and the VPN.

A smartphone’s location services use either your GPS or your internet IP address. It’s usually one or the other. If you have location services turned off, the location data is taken from your IP address.

In that case, the location will show the location of the VPN connection. If you’re looking for privacy, turn off the GPS and your internet by itself won’t give you away. For example, my VPN shows that I’m in New York City and I am thankfully not.


I will be vacationing during the holiday season in a state where I can’t carry my firearm. So, I plan on carrying a knife. Can I fly with a knife if I put it in my checked baggage? Are there any federal laws preventing this?

-From Ryan E.

Answer: I’ve never had a problem with a knife in checked luggage. And, I usually have several pocket knives in my checked bag.

Remember that it may be legal to put the knife in your checked luggage, and it may be legal to carry the knife in your home state. But, as soon as you collect your luggage at the destination you could be carrying an illegal knife depending on the location.

Lastly, in the U.S. you don’t need to declare a knife that you have in checked luggage. The rules are different for firearms, which always need to be declared.


My age is catching up to me. I’m going to be moving into an assisted living facility. My mind is sharp as ever but my physical limitations require others’ help. How do I make my room safe in an assisted living home?

-From Walt L.

Answer: One of the first things I would do is ask if you can change the locks on the door. You can provide the facility with a copy of the key and keep one for yourself.

Also, a lot of these types of facilities are broken into through windows. So, always lock windows and put a piece of wood or something in the window track so it can’t be opened.

Finally, it’s difficult to have a security system in one room but I recommend some type of chime or alarm for when the door opens. This would at least alert you that someone entered the room. A door stopper alarm is a good option.


I’m installing one of the best rated DIY security camera systems in my home. But I’m worried about the risks of getting hacked since the entire system connects to my internet. How can I protect my security system?

-From Cheryl S.

Answer: These days, any electronic device that connects to the internet can be susceptible to hacking. This is why you want to use a VPN (virtual private network) and make sure your router is secure. Obviously, change the factory password.

Personally, I’m more in favor of hard-wired security systems that don’t run on Wi-Fi and that’s what I have at my house.


My family and I almost became victims of a home invasion. A man attempted to kick down our front door. I could see him on camera trying to get in. I grabbed my gun and went towards the door. He took off when I yelled at him. Could I have shot him through the door? Would it have been justified?

-From Douglas R.

Answer: I’m not a lawyer and a lot of this will depend on the state laws where you live. But, in general terms, if your state has a Castle Law then typically the individual must be inside your “castle” for you to use deadly force.

On the other hand, you and I know bad guys can shoot through doors. So, if it was a scenario where the bad guy was shooting through your door, then self-defense laws should work in your favor.

My point is, if the bad guy was outside your home, then home defense laws likely wouldn’t apply.

But if he had burst through your front door and was inside your home then you could defend your family.

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