Disappearing can be important for people on the run from political persecution or immigration officials, from abusive relationships and stalkers, and for people involved in highly illegal political activity. This short excerpt comes from the book “Soldier of Fortune: Guide to How to Disappear and Never Be Found.“
How to Disappear and Never Be Found
By Barry Davies
There are two ways of looking at your disappearance plan:
- You make preparations to become someone else.
- You remain your original self and simply disappear one day without reason.
There are good and bad points to both. Should you wish to change your name and obtain a new passport, remove as much information about yourself from the Internet as possible and make sure you leave no clues that you planned to disappear. If, on the other hand, you do nothing—continuing your life as normal until the appointed day and then simply disappearing—you will leave no clues as to why you went missing. In either case, you will need to do some research and plan how to best succeed with your disappearance.
Planning your disappearance so that you will never be found is a difficult task; time is needed to get everything in place: finance, cover story, and your new beginning. How and when you decide to go will very much depend on your own personal circumstances. For example, if you are in a really bad relationship where physical abuse is a constant occurrence, you may need to disappear sooner rather than later. If your life is simply going nowhere and you seek a fresh start, then you have time to plan in more detail.
Change Your Identity
Just before disappearing, it would be beneficial to create a new identity and name. If you do this discreetly, it will make it even harder for anyone to track you down, especially if you decide to stay in your country of origin. Remember, there are many factors that will aid anyone trying to locate you: your Social Security number, credit cards, driver’s license, passport, marriage certificate, and the fact that you had an official name change can all be found, as they will be on record. With or without a name change, if you decide to remain in your country of origin, the chances of you being discovered are much greater.
There are many ways to change your identity or create a new one: You can change your name, your appearance, remain in isolation, or go somewhere where no one will ever know your true identity. To start a new or second identity, it is possible in most countries to change your name, but all the rules that govern this vary dramatically. For example, in the United Kingdom, it is possible to change your name or any part of your name by deed poll, while in America, the laws on changing your name vary from state to state and require some kind of public announcement.
Financial resources will also play a big part in your plan to disappear. Not having enough money will limit your options, while having too much will bring you to prominence. If you are poor or of moderate means and have few assets that can be converted into cash, then your options to disappear are fairly limited. On the upside, very few people will miss your departure when compared to someone famous or extremely wealthy. Likewise, if you’re poor and have not committed any major crime, there will be fewer resources spent on trying to locate you or to find the reason for your disappearance.
This does not mean that you can’t disappear; you could always go on the road and become a hobo or drifter, as this costs nothing. If the police want you for a crime in your country or you are indicted on a crime and out on bail, the chances are that you will have surrendered your passport and your bank accounts will be frozen to stop you from disappearing. It makes no matter if you’re innocent or guilty, the courts order these things done even in some divorce cases. So unless you saw this coming and made alternative arrangements, i.e. moved the bulk of you money into accessible cash and usefully applied for a second passport, your only option is to disappear as a hobo.
How to Disappear and Never Be Found By Barry Davies