How to Disappear

How to disappear. A guide on laying low.

Disclaimer:  This article is for informational purposes only.  Only the reader is responsible for their actions.

The fact that having to disappear may be necessary at some point in your life is an unsettling one.  All over the country there are cases of people who are forced underground for their own safety.  Reasons may include cases of abusive relationships or dealing with the wrong crowd.  At any rate, this article is a brief overview of what a person must do in order to disappear and make it next to impossible to be found. 

1- Be ready to change your appearance.  It is recommended that you keep your hair and facial hair as long as possible if you ever think you're going to have to disappear.  It is much easier to cut hair in a hurry than trying to force it to grow.

2- Dump your cell phone.  These are too easy to track.  You won't want to be calling anybody anyway.  When you dump your phone leave it on, in case it is traced, you’ll hopefully be long gone.  As you are working on re-establishing yourself invest in a pre-paid phone option that allows you to set the area code to someplace far away from where you actually are. 

3- Dump your online identity.  Stop checking your social networks and your email.  Don’t check your bank statements or pay bills online.  Don’t even hang on to your computer.  Dump anything electronic that is capable of connecting you to the world.  IP addresses are too easy to trace. 

4- Dump your car.  Park it in long term parking at the airport and walk away or trade it in for a clunker to get you around town.  Try not to park it at the same airport or station you plan on leaving from. 

5- Buy more than one ticket.  Where ever you go, buy multiple tickets to multiple locations.  The more you can buy the better.  This will throw your pursuers off of your trail if they try to pull financial records.  This may make you look suspicious, but there is nothing illegal about it.  If anyone in law enforcement inquirers about the reason for the purchases just tell them the truth, that you are in fear for your life and you are trying to throw off your pursuer.  If they want to run your name in any criminal databases they will see that you are not actively wanted by any law enforcement agency so you can't be evading legal capture.  This should allow them to believe you.  They may think you're a little paranoid, but they'll still let you go.  Keep in mind that you don't have to tell the cops which ticket you plan on using or where you plan on going.  Be as general as possible but offer enough information for them to believe you so they can let you go as soon as possible.  The places where you bought your tickets usually won't give out your travel details without a court order.  Odds of your pursuer getting any information from the place where you bought your tickets are slim to none.  Those places are too crowded and see too much foot traffic for most employees to remember one person.  Besides, by this point in the game your appearance should have changed anyway.

6- Feel free to drive.  If you've managed to hang on to a car and feel like driving the roads, feel free.  Only do this if you've ditched your original car.  Obey all traffic laws to avoid attention.  Buy necessities like toiletries and changes of clothes along the way at 24 hour stores. 

7- Lose your name.  Introduce yourself by a nickname or another name of your choosing.  If anybody learns the name of your former identity, just explain that you never liked your birth name for one reason or another. 

8- Cut all contact with friends and family.  This is perhaps the most difficult step because it requires forcing your loved ones into wondering what's happened to you.  Don't explain what happened, where you're going, or when you'll be back.  The less they know about where you are the better. 

9- Keep moving.  Never stay in any one town or city long enough for people to learn your name.  Living in pay-by-the-week motels is a good way to keep this going.  For enough cash some motel attendants won't ask you for identification.  Stick to cities and towns that are more crowded than others.  The more faces you can surround yourself with the less likely that you'll be spotted walking down the street. 

10- Stay legal.  Don't draw attention to yourself by breaking the law, something as simple as jaywalking can compromise your location.  Your pursuer may be able to see that you were issued a ticket in so-and-so town on so-and-so date. 

Other things to keep in mind are various preparation tactics.  It is a good idea for people who think they may have to go on the lamb to keep a "go bag" easily accessible.  They are bags that you can grab on the go.  This is a bag that is already packed with enough necessities to get you through a week and enough cash to get you through to a cash paying job.  Cash is the most important item because there is no telling when more funds will be available.  As you are preparing to go on the run do not close out your bank or cancel any checks.  Leave everything at your financial institution as it is.  You should only keep the minimum amount of cash in your bank accounts to cover your bills and keep the rest in cash in your go bag, this way you won't take too much of a financial hit if you have to leave town quick. 

Another way to prepare for flight is to start learning a new trade.  Something completely unrelated to your last.  If you work in a job that requires very specific skills it will be very difficult to stay hidden for long.  All your pursuer would have to do is find out which location out of all of those tickets of yours offers the best places for you to work.  Learn a trade that is traditionally paid for in cash like house painting or lawn care.   

Besides preparing yourself mentally for leaving your old life behind at the drop of a pin, you must also prepare yourself physically.  Before it becomes necessary for you to flee, start working out.  Build muscle and speed in case you should ever find yourself backed into a corner.  When you're on the run, keep up your strength by eating healthy and using various body weight exercises to keep your muscles toned.  Exercises would include pushups, squats, and crunches.  While gaining 200 pounds of fat would be a great disguise, it won't come in handy should the disguise fail. 

Notice that this guide did not offer instructions on creating a new identity.  It isn't that sort of guide.  By resorting to a simple life that can be maintained with cash there will never be a reason to display your ID card unless you’re trying to buy booze (which you shouldn't, because you want to be sober should you have to flee again).  This is a guide about avoiding detection, not becoming a whole new person. 

This guide is also not all inclusive.  While you’re on the run, keep your head low and radar up.  Every move you make should a move to keep you safe.  Avoid showing identification as soon as possible but always cooperate with a person who may have to see it.  Nothing is more suspicious than a person obviously trying to avoid detection.

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