I make this post to reference a dream that a few people have and even fewer commit to. I have written this over the past year. I have updated and tweaked it on more than once occasion, leading to a final product that am also going to commit to. I would like those reading to keep in mind that this is Illegal in most countries and this includes the United States due to a process of investigation and resulting in a miss-classification of death called Death in Absentia. Though everyone may have a unique reason to wanting to disappear, it is best to keep it all your own.
Preparation Is Everything
Disappearing takes time. Every great event takes great planning. Prepare, keep a journal or something more secure. Make financial planning precaution, course routes, unforeseen events, and lodging plans. The more time you put into your plan, the better your chances on maintaining and surviving. This plan should be precise, neat, organized, and put to action at a moments notice. You want to start with the Basics. Why, Where, and When.
Using this Why,Where,When format will be a guideline for the following sections and should be be advised that these sections will be increasing more difficult depending on your own personal scope. For example if you are already in trouble with The Law, then this would be exponentially more difficult than those who kept their noses down. Having a clean record prior to the vanishing ensures you do not have a history of risk taking behavior and makes it more difficult for you to evade the public.
You need to slowly start cutting ties to your old life. This means seeing friends and family less and less over time. If done over the course of a year you should be able to act with no potential of your family worrying after a few days of no contact. 48 hours is the baseline for time to give meaningful escape. This means you need to be able to leave and no one ask questions on you whereabouts for about 2 Days.
Why? Your friends and family will be the first to notice your disappearance. They will also be the first to call in your disappearance to the local police and begin the search for you.
Where? Be sure that your location is not one that your friends and family could guess. You need the location to be either the direct opposite of what they think of you or a random location that has no preexisting ties to your personal identity.
When? As mentioned prior I would begin to slowly distance yourself over the course of a year. If this timeline is too long for your needs however I would keep your normal routine and then go all at once without notice. This will startle your family causing them to panic and notify the police much sooner and potentially will cause issues due to the time crunch.
Be prepared to Lie
Making excuses and extensive plans that involve being alone for long periods of time. This is absolutely necessary. You are going to lie a lot in order to maintain the facade. Best to recite common lies and stories in the mirror as a ritual. Like an actor until the lie becomes your reality. Make a habit of doing things out of regularity or take up a reclusive hobby. This gains you some traction on being alone for long periods of time so when you decide to leave many will think you are off alone as per usual.
Why? Maintaining a lie is going to be a common occurrence. For those who are not good at lying begin to practice, or begin to withhold information, the best lies are the small ones. The lies that make just enough sense to be passable in all situations. Eat, Sleep, and Breath these tiny lies in private so when you begin to ravel you plan you have a tale to back it up.
Where? Begin to practice in private or just begin to omit details throughout your day. No reason to get ahead of yourself.
When? I would start to formulate the habit around the same time you begin to start planning. This will work as a smoke screen for the following section as you are going to see a lot of action is involved prior to the disappearance.
Cash will be your new method of payment. Canceling your bank account or withholding funds in a cash safe is a good start. You want enough money saved to survive for 90 days without employment. Food, Travel, Shelter, and Supplies are all basic needs. Plan for variables. Withdraw your fund slowly over a month or several to not raise suspicion. As mentioned earlier, do not tell anyone about the money, be prepared to lie. The earlier you start this process the better. Remember the police will be looking at all records. The more things that look normal the less leads the police will have for what happened. Having no money to your name makes the disappearing process much more challenging. So save as much as you can as early as you can.
Why? Money and in particular cash is a trace-less transaction. The more cash you save the better off you will be when making it to where you want to go. Also cash is the life-blood for most people and slipping a stranger some cash for something you need it a quick way to cover your tracks.
Where? You should keep your money hidden, if your money is typically kept in a safe, move it. Most likely the safe location is known and you need to locate it. I recommend a hollow book or cavity of something on you desk. Someplace high or low but not something in eye view. If all else fails remove a light socket they is behind a bit of furniture or one that is typically unused, unscrew the cover, and place the cash there.
When? Maintaining a good hoard of cash is always a best practice in life but if you have not maintained some emergency fund somewhere then it is best to start with the 10% rule, where every paycheck or bit of income that is shared 10% goes to cash. After that you can slowly withdraw more during purchases that allow it or by asking for checks and not direct deposit. This will allow a near seamless and inconspicuous paper-trail from daily life to your secret fund.
Delete all your online accounts. Use doxing methods to find all information you can and attempt to remove it. Remember that many services have databases of your past information that can be obtained by authorities. To keep this simple, while deleting old services start using VPNs and Tor, using GNU/Linux, and practice smart browsing methods. This will prevent new records from popping up and gets you into the habit of being secure online. I would also mention that start small and work your way to the larger accounts like Facebook. Deleting the big social media accounts is sure to raise suspicion. Being offline is going to be hard for some but its good to start practicing being without Internet or contact for several days at a time. Once again be prepared to make excuse for why you are going offline and deleting your online accounts. Make sure you never use these account or websites again after deletion.
Why? Maintaining an online presence can lead to some tricky issues like having your location or habits disclosed on. Often this is the current and most common way of both being connected to others but also a way that friends, family, and those who may look for you will make attempts to find your location. People often disclose details online that normally to strangers in person would never think about mentioning. Pictures taken from your phone or from a pc will reveal information such as where the photo was taken, on what device, and when. So it is best to avoid these at all cost.
Where? If you have been following the steps given you should now be use to going out alone, the only places you should allow yourself to be connected online are places you are okay with revealing such as common, high traffic, and inconspicuous ares. Avoid using a cell phone with data capabilities unless it is a burner or one time use device. Only use it when necessary.
When? While I would say to always make attempts to minimize you presence online. If you have failed to do so prior or have a reasonable amount of data online. Begin early, like mentioned above, start small like Online Banking, Amazon/Ebay accounts, any online account not used daily. Then move to the larger accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms 1-2 days prior to leaving. This is minimize risk and chance of discovery.
Be prepared to quit your job or cash in your Sick/Vacation time. Save all Sick and Vacation time until 24 hours before you act. This gets rid of the work issue. If you plan on quitting, put in your two-weeks and work them. There should be no reason for anyone to worry about where you are. You can make mention of a needed vacation out of town or a need to change employment months before you disappear, this will allow others to make excuses for you about your absence.
Why? For many Americans work is a second home, you make friends, build relationships, and form familiar relationships with your environment. This can cause an issue when you are looking to disappear. Employers tend to have emergency contacts, have a tight No-Call No-Show policy, and if you are from a smaller town or city, they may drive by to check on you if you leave work without notice.
Where? Mentioned prior, start talking about a vacation or a new job you are looking into. Explain details casually and do not add too many, talk about leaving for a few days or even a few weeks. Make sure the information given is unrelated to your plan.
When? Start doing this a few weeks before leaving. If you have a year, save all your sick and vacation days. If you only have a few days, put in your two-weeks, and mention opportunities elsewhere.
Check your rent or lease. Plan around either paying your rent in advance by 3 months via direct withdraw or cash. Plan all your bills this way, or cancel them and leave your home. You will want to do this well ahead of time to get them used to you paying several months at a time. If you have neighbors who like to ask questions or be nosy, tell them about a vacation plan months in advance just like the employer. Tie up any and all loose ends you can think of to give yourself more time to travel and escape before the search is on. If you have pets ask for a friend or family member to take care of them, you cannot bring them with you.
Why? Homes or Apartments are going to be the first place those searching for you will look, if you tidy up and maintain a minimalist lifestyle you will leave behind less for them to use. De-clutter and pack away only things you plan to never use again. Do not make it look like a break in or a robbery, doing so will only draw attention to your case and give the police more motive to apply resources in looking for you.
Where? Drop off all non-essential goods at a Goodwill or Habitat For Humanity in another town, do not rent a storage unit, this is unneeded spending of funds that are vital for your survival. Keep furniture and basic home goods where they are or at least make them look like they are used every day. Keep automated furnishings such as automatic lights or coffee makers on. This can potentially obscure any time-frame those looking can apply during your leave.
When? You want to maintain your minimalist lifestyle for about 3 months prior to your disappearance date. This will give plenty of time for most of the goods to recirculate into the populace and enough time for payments to be scheduled out for 3 months after you leave. This will give you plenty of time to make a fair distance before neighbors or those close to notice you are no longer at home, if payments are being made and things are as they should be inside your home then most will think you are only gone for a weekend, perhaps a week at most.
Get every school ID, drivers license, birth certificate, social security card, and bank statement. Collect anything with your name and picture, keep it in one place. There are several things to do once everything is collected. GET RID OF THEM OR TAKE THEM WITH YOU. Just do not leave them behind. You want to leave little as possible when you disappear. I would keep a small lock-box will all possible items and take it with you.
Getting a new identity is easier than you may think. First step the the identity you can assume, most towns have archives of obituaries, this is going t be a bit morbid but you need to be scanning these for anyone you think you can pass for as a potential body double, Height and Weight can be off only slightly but Race, Eye, and Hair need to be consistent. When a match dies, call the county immediately requesting the public file of the deceased party, this should provide you enough information to go to another county (Counties rarely if ever talk to one another regarding deaths) in your State and request an ID to be made. How we get your SSN is to perform a mail request and send the Social Security Administration with a photocopy of the new ID you just made. After about 14 days pending processing, you should have yourself a new identity.
Why? After people find out your are missing you identity is now useless to you, in fact it harms you. Your face, Name, description, occupation, everything people can attribute to you is now a liability. Performing frequent changes to your person is needed to maintain this facade. Do not rely on previous biases and movements as when those closest to you give the police a description of your person, they are going to include every like and hobby, every quirk and trait, you need to leave that all behind.
Where? In regards to your new ID and SSN, you are now that person. Make sure the State and Address registered are no longer attributed to you, but to the person you are becoming. Keep the credentials with the cash or another equally safe place. Only take it out when you are ready to go.
When? You want to begin this process ASAP, you want the new ID and SSN to have enough time to circulate through the government systems to verify and update with the new information. This may sound counterproductive but the sooner you can have the credentials pass a basic background check the better.
Avoid pictures. This gives a profile to look for you. A current picture can do wonders for those looking for you. People are good with faces. If you have a picture out there of you then people will notice. Family members may start going door to door and store to store carrying a recent photo of you from the life you are trying to flee. Make attempts to change your look as best as possible.
Why? Police if given a recent photo can and will make alterations to it to show what you could potentially look like when changing your facial hair, hair style, or potential disguise. An older picture can still cause problems when it comes to body proportions, personal gait, walking style, style of dress. All are going to be used to track you down.
Where? The only photos should be none, if that is not possible, try to maintain constant photographs, do not allow them to vary to much, if you do not normally wear a hat, do not wear one in photos. If pictures are taken at home, make sure the only photos are those of you at home. Backgrounds, people, clothing, times, and locations will all be brought together to make a profile of you. Try to keep photos as minimal as possible to allow as little detail from them to be given.
When? Typically most police sketch artists can work with a frame of plus or minus 5 years. This is an issue, so try to do this for as long and often as possible. When traveling avoid cameras during your movements, anything from traffic cams, people taking selfies, to convenience stores. Obscure your head and body as much as possible when moving to avoid description matches.
Get rid of your phone plan. Cancel all services and plans. If you need a phone, pick up a burner phone and a cheap prepaid plan. Pay in cash. Keep the phone that you use cheap and only use a data plan if you have to.
Why? Phones are walking talking GPS devices. If you have had social media on or have used you number to contact any friend, family, business, bank, and so on, that is no longer to be used. Use this device only for emergencies, otherwise keep it off, you should have no need to be calling anyone anyway until you are living your new life.
Where? Your new device should be a flip-phone or something of the like purchased from any bulk store retailer, do not go anywhere fancy, and do not spend more than what you need. Your new device should only be used on the road or to find where you are, nothing more. When at your new location you will throw away your first burner device for another one. This one you can keep with you, but keep to avoiding it's usage whenever possible.
When? You should get rid of your old device the day you leave and only purchase you new burner phone when you are beyond you state lines. After this you should get ride of that device only when you have reached your location and are needing to maintain lines of contact between you and those who are interacting with under your assumed identity.
Sell it. Get a cash value on it. Scrap it if you can not sell it. Buy a used car with the cash. Find something in a neutral color, a few years old. Try finding a used or decommissioned fleet vehicle from a contractor or rental company. Get everything you need to fix your car in the trunk. Tools, Spare Tire, and even a spare battery. This should allow you to travel without concern of your car breaking down. Before leaving you should have your gas tank full. This should provide at least 400 miles of travel. You can also carry a spare gas tank along with your other tools.
Why? Having a private vehicle will make travel easier as you will not have to rely on public transport during most of your journey. The more people aware of your mode of travel the easier it will be to find you.
Where? You should sell your car to someone who's records are vague or nill, this will cover your tracks for when people wonder where your current vehicle is and why it is gone. You should purchase your new vehicle from someone private, like a Craig's List or public auction. Somewhere where the tags and titles are still in other others name, less paper trail to follow the better.
When? I would recommend doing this within 24-72 hours before leaving to ensure the car is in good working order and enough time to get what you need to maintain it. You also do not want to be seen driving the new vehicle so the less time you spend in it while during your normal life the better.
This will be your Go-Bag. Make certain you get one with the following qualities.
I would check out common Every Day Carry Survival Bags to get yourself started. I have also make a list of all items common in over 50 percent of all EDC bags by use case.
Why? This bag is going to contain your entire life from this point on, you want something high quality, and something that can roll with you wherever you go. You need this to be your everything from this point on. The less you need to get while on the road the better your chances are to evade detection.
Where? Purchase these items at any major camp or outdoor supply. Most if not all items listed below should be available there.
When? You should have these items stocked and ready to go within 48 hours before taking off, this will allow plenty of time to double and triple check all your essentials and things you are bringing with you.
Its important to get a water-bottle made of stainless steel. An alternative method to purify water from rivers and streams when boiling is too time-consuming is to carry some water purification tablets. A good water filter will remove all the particulates from your water such as dirt or soot, but a great one will also remove most harmful bacteria as well.
Calorie dense energy bars will do the trick. Just read the label and look for ones that provide the most calories per bar. These food bars will provide your primary energy needs on your journey since they are easy to consume on the go, and you can pack quite a lot of them without adding much weight. Freeze-dried foods are a hot meal in a pouch making them another a light food source you can add. Military MREs are also excellent. Stash some daily vitamins to help maintain your overall health. Camping Utensils made from steel, a standard camping kitchen set will contain 2 Forks, knives, spoons, plates, and bowls.
Only carry as much clothing as you need for survival. Spare clothes will take too much precious pack space and weigh more than you think. So try to limited additional clothes to just a couple of the main undergarments. Plan on wearing the same set of durable clothes every day and then just change out your undergarments to maintain reasonable hygiene. Rotate a fresh pair of socks daily. A small light traveling sewing kit. A sewing kit allows you to mend your clothes should they rip or tear. Pack a warm stocking cap, neutral colors. Pack a poncho. Ponchos are thin, light and take up limited space. Get one with a hood to keep the rain off your head.
Fire is your lifeblood in a survival emergency. You need it to purify water, cook food, for nighttime warmth, safety. Waterproof matches, Fire Strikers, A lighter. You should stash all of your fire starting tools in a watertight container.
These are things that you hold very very dear, something to keep you mentally sane. Something like a book, a photo, or something to keep you grounded when you are on the road. Stress is going to be high, use these items to calm you down. They should be light and portable. Something that can take up minimal room in your bag.
Go to a cheap clothing store and buy several outfits. Old suits and things that blend in to your natural environment. Pick neutral color clothes. Dye your hair, something natural. Wear a hat, something with a brim that can cover your face if you look down.
The further, the safer. Whether you flee the country or hide, you must go somewhere people will not expect. If you talk about vacations to Florida go to Idaho.
After you reach you destination or at least the half way point you can ditch the car and start making use of other modes of travel. When discarding your other vehicle you can only assume that by the time you are half way to where you are going that those looking for you now know your new mode of travel is. Try to keep this in mind when traveling further. When looking for a new form of travel, anything that does not require an ID is a good start. By foot or by bicycle is your best option. Public transportation, just remember a lot of these are under constant video surveillance. Most states also do not require an ID or Drivers Permit to drive a low CC moped or ATV. Make attempts to avoid main roads and public areas from this point on.
The New You
Remember to never contact anyone of anything from your old life. This includes all forms of communication. Stay off the grid when it comes to personal communication. Find new hobbies, new interests, new skills you never knew you had.
Be okay with moving every year or two. This makes it more difficult for you to be tracked in known. The more you move the safer you are.
The more you repeat this list and continue to cultivate this behavior the safer you will be over all. This give you a sense of detachment. Be okay with this.