Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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What can you tell me about credit monitoring services? When you subscribe you have to give them a lot of information including your SS #. This sounds risky. What are your thoughts?

-From Paul P.

Answer: You are right that they need very personal information about you in order to monitor your credit. When you give anyone your personal information there is the risk of the company getting hacked.

I have nothing against credit monitoring companies.

But I also I recommend having a credit freeze in place with the three main credit bureaus. This will prevent anyone from opening an account with your credit. The only way to access your credit is with the PIN provided by the credit bureau.


In the past you’ve mentioned putting important documents on a USB drive when you travel. Can TSA search a USB device or other electronics?

-From Richard B.

Answer: They likely wouldn’t care about a USB stick unless they suspect it’s some type of dangerous device.

Yet, they can ask you to power on an electronic device, and ask you to put your password in to prove it belongs to you.

You don’t have to share your password with the TSA. But they want to make sure your device is legitimate and that you are the actual owner.

With that being said, Customs and Border Patrol can search your electronic devices. The chances of this are slim and you would have to give them your password. (I would make sure you use an encrypted USB drive so no one can get into it, but you.)

In some extreme cases, Customs and Border Patrol have seized electronic devices for advanced searches but to do this they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.


I’m a new conceal carry permit holder. I’m a tiny woman so I carry a small pocket pistol. The problem is it’s easy to see the gun on my hip. Is there any way to prevent my gun from being seen under my clothes?

-From Rebecca V.

Answer: The way you carry your firearm has a lot to do with whether it prints through your clothing. One of the best ways to carry your firearm to avoid printing is to cant the firearm between 18 to 25 degrees.

Also, if you carry your gun on your hip it is more likely to be seen. Try moving it behind or in front of your hip by a few inches, which can minimize how much it shows through your clothes.

Lastly, you may want to wear a shirt that is one size larger than normal. You want to make sure your clothes aren’t too tight. This makes printing a lot worse.

Consider using a bellyband to carry your gun as this seems to work for a lot of women.


I have lived near the ocean my entire life. I’m about to retire and contemplating where I want to live. Is living near the ocean good or bad during a survival situation?

-From Timothy R.

Answer: Living near the ocean can bring lots of sunshine and great weather. But it can also bring dangerous storms.

My point is, coastal areas are more prone to natural disasters. Floods and hurricanes on the east coast and earthquakes and droughts on the west coast.

Also, sea water isn’t drinkable and most filters don’t remove salt. The only way to remove the salt would be through desalination.

Plus, home prices and insurance costs can make rebuilding after a disaster a lot easier said than done. At the end of the day, living by the ocean would not be my first choice during a disaster.


My family recently discussed our home defense plan. My concern is that if we ever used a gun to defend our home, what do we do after the shooting while waiting for police to arrive?

-From Amanda T.

Answer: First, if I were going to engage a threat in my house, I would tell my spouse or whomever I was with to call the police. I would tell them my physical description and what I’m wearing.

Of course, police are still going to arrive with guns drawn and as soon as I could hear police, I would put the firearm down or holster it.

Obviously, if the criminal is still a threat, keep the gun on them until the police arrive. But if the criminal is no longer a threat, put away the gun and have you or your spouse meet the police outside to tell them what they’re walking into.


Which is the safest brand of laptop computer from a security standpoint?

-From Hank T.

Answer: Many people think that Apple computers are more secure than a PC. The truth is, the Apple operating system is harder to exploit than Microsoft, but it is not completely resistant to viruses.

So, whether you go with a Mac or PC, you need to take personalized security steps when setting up your computer. For instance, you should use a reputable anti-virus software and always use a virtual private network (VPN) on your computer.

Lastly, regularly check for updates on any computer you buy to make sure that the latest security software is installed no matter if it is a Mac or PC.

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