How to Disappear – Freedom

Chapter Seventeen: How to Disappear from Big Brother

I am always asked why people want to disappear and I explain that it usually comes down to violence or money. The money people want a better life and so do the danger people. When you break that down it is all about freedom. It could be freedom from an abusive relationship, a way of life, the law, intrusive government, the daily grind or even mediocrity. Again, it is all about freedom.

Seeking freedom through disappearing can be tricky. Sometime those who want to disappear feel compelled to use methods that can compromise their freedom. Freedom is never a simple act of A to B. There are tools and rules you must follow.

While you are devising your exit plan, continuously ask yourself if the road you are creating will lead to freedom because freedom should always be in the scope.

I believe it important to itemize your disappear plan into several different list. Creating a list can be of service while searching and reviewing your exit plan.

An individual I consulted with planned on disappearing to South America where he was interested purchasing beachfront property. The property was nice and affordable. He did his homework, searched and confirmed that electricity and water was available to the property lot. He forgot to search for internet services and eventually discovered there was none.

Another client I consulted with needed to disappear because of a violent ex-spouse. As we were planning the process, the client never mentioned that she had a rare disease required rare medicine.

When I researched the medicine, I discovered that it was not a commonly prescribed drug. When I contacted several pharmacies in her soon to be new land, I learned that none of them carried the needed medicine. We had to figure out how she was going to order her medicine without leaving a trace, via the purchases. A necessity such as medicine could be a major disappearing obstacle.

What Are Your Obstacles?

I am not going to fill the pages with a long list of questions or suggestions of what you should put down on your list. Take some time and search relocation sites and you will find list after list after list of helpful ideas. 

The Big Good Bye

Last Will & Testament certainly a sad piece of business. However, one must consider what happens if they kick the bucket. If you have three hundred grand in a bank account and a beautiful house on the beach. Who gets the assets when you are ten toes up?

If your attitude is, you do not care because you hate everyone you are leaving in your wake. I say do bit of good and leave it all to me and if that does not work for you give it to a charity. You may need to draw up a new Will in your new land but be cautious and investigate if Wills are public record.

I have consulted with individuals who have come into stacks of money and these lucky souls will never have a financial woe again.

I have also spoken with others who have what they believe to be a huge amount of money and they believe they will never have a financial woe again. Truth is one of them will definitely run out of money and if they do not have a backup plan, they will end up on the streets or back where they came from just like our friend in Africa.

I am against burning bridges no one ever knows what waits around the tricky and sometime evil corner of life. It may not be that predator but a natural disaster or a sickness giving you three months to live. What happens then? Can you return home? Will your family and friends take you into their home after you burned them?

FREEDOM: The dictionary defines freedom as, a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any undue restraints or restriction. Sounds real good. Freedom is also one of those words that can hold many definitions. There is conceptual freedom, which is an ideology one believes, and then there is physical freedom where and how.

What is your freedom?

As I have explained, my objective is to keep the concept of obtaining freedom as the focus. Last year I had a conversation with Mr. Goodbye who wanted to disappear. He and his wife were in the middle of a divorce and he did not want to give her a dime. He did not hide the fact that he truly hated her. I try to avoid these types of clients since I am in need of positive karma.

I tried to persuade Mr. Goodbye not to go the route of burning his wife and take care of business properly. He soon revealed that he was closing a business deal that would put a million green ones in his pockets.  His plan was to pull a Jack Kerouac, put it all in a backpack and go on the road but in South America, somewhat crazy in my opinion.

Mr. Goodbye was cryptic in conversation and something did not sit right. He had the means to give his wife her piece of the pie and walk away clean. I decided to do some snooping and I discovered that Mr. Goodbye owned four rug rats. I have done some things in life but never burned a bunch of little kids.

There was no way I was going to do business with Mr. Goodbye, just not my flavor of tea. I tried to talk some sense into him and show him that his plan was a long term lose plan. His passport would expire in four years and by the time he needed to renew it; there would be a warrant for his arrest for nonsupport.

What is the point of seeking freedom if the road you take creates further legal problems, which can take your freedom away?

I reached my tipping point and explained to Mr. Goodbye that we were not going to do business together. A few day afterwards, I receive a consultation request from him again. He had one question, how could he could smuggle one million dollars out of his country. I hung up on him.


Sell House – Sell Car – Pay off Bills – Cancel Credit Cards – Cancel Home Services – Cable – Electric

In the past, I suggested deviating all identifiers on all accounts. For example, I suggested changing Frank M. Ahearn to Frank G. Ahearn and eventually change Frank to Hank. If your date of birth is June 14 1960, I suggested deviating it to July 16, 1961. This type of strategy makes sense when being pursued by a predator or angry ex-husband but not by BIG BROTHER.

With all the eyes in the sky and creepy hands grabbing data BIG BROTHER already has your information and can easily recognize the lies. Instead of creating disinformation on your various accounts, I suggest you pay them off and go the way of the ghost.

The Freedom List

Money – Ability to Earn – Opportunity – Mobility – Passport – Dual Citizenship – Where Will You Go –

The Block List

Lack of Money – No Earning Potential – Medical Issues – Legal Issues –Marriage

 The Needs List

Personal – Passport/up-to-date – Banking Tools – Money – Cash – Credit – Medical – Files – Medicine – Contact List – Family – Friends – Business – Electronics – Computer – Phones – Business – Website – Merchant Services – Banks – Business Contact – Assets – Communications

What If List

Imagine it is 1995 and you have disappeared to Monserrat. You purchased a home and set up a small roadside business. A month later the volcano erupts and destroys more than half of the island including your home and business. What will you do?

Be aware earthquakes, floods, tornados, wildfires, hurricanes and political overthrows all are realities and possibilities. These misfortunes happen to ordinary people who have ordinary lives. They can even happen to the disappeared.

Research and evaluate the safety and security of your new patch of land. Never shrug off the potential of catastrophic events and never assume it will not happen to you.

The Disaster List

The Disaster List should include a backup plan. What happens if the predator locates you, what happens if a natural disaster occurs, what happens if you go bankrupt, what happens if the government falls, what happens if you lose it all?

To a certain degree, disappearing to a new land is no different from relocating to a new job. However, the difference is if you relocate for a new job and all plummets, you have family and friends in the wings to assist. Being disappeared you may not have that safety net and this is why you must create your own safety net.

Outside Go Bag

Even when life is fine, it would be wise to have an outside Go Bag stashed. This Go Bag should be located outside the country where you reside. Look at this bag as a lifeline.

Financial Tools 

Access is key to being a successfully disappeared person and becoming complacent can compromise all. Never put all of your eggs into one Go Bag.  If you reside in Country A put some of your money away in Country B.

Think Rainy Day! Think What If!

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Little Black Book Of Skip Tracing: Creating Pretext, Mastering Social Engineering And Finding Anyone Anywhere


How to Disappear – Traveling With Financial Instruments

CHAPTER THIRTEEN – How to Disappear from Big Brother

Lady KGB escaped from a prostitution ring while working in Europe. She came from poverty in her home country and had the opportunity to leave and relocate to for what she believed would lead to a better life. The deal was she would work and payoff the people who smuggled her out of her country. She knew that she would work as a dancer but it did not matter, as long as freedom would eventually come her way.

In time, Lady KGB became the “den mother” and handled a revolving group of girls who worked strip clubs and private parties. As time rolled on, Lady KGB began to inquire about her debt. Each time she addressed the issue and only empty promises came her way. Eventually she knew that freedom was not in her scope.

One afternoon a raid took place in a motel where a group of girls resided. One of the pimps gave Lady KGB a briefcase, sent her off to a different motel and instructed her to wait for him. Curiosity got the better of her and she broke open the briefcase. There were a dozen or so passports, including her own. In several envelopes, there were stacks of colorful Euros. She knew that this would be her only opportunity to get away and she took it. She left the rendezvous motel for another.

Lady KGB – Danger Issues – Get Rid Of Passports – Deal with Cash – Get Out Of Town

Lady KGB located my website and contacted me. Her email was half a page long and sounded desperate, crazy and paranoid all wrapped up on one. I rarely get on the phone with a potential client without them setting up a prepaid consultation. However, her desperation got the better of me.

Lady KGB had several issues she needed to address immediately. Such as getting out of the city, dumping the passports and dealing with the bag of cash. Each of these could jeopardize her freedom.

If her pimp caught her, it would be death. If law enforcement stopped her, the numerous passports and cash would be plenty to detain her.  There were four essential goals, pick up disappearing tools, convert cash, ditch passports and get out of town.

Lady KGB provided me with her hotel address and I searched locations where she could buy a few prepaid cell phones and prepaid debit cards. She hit the streets immediately. There was no time to cover her tracks properly and use a third party to purchase the phones. The threat was looming and escaping was most important.

Goals: Buy Disappearing Tools – Convert Cash to Instruments – Ditch Passports – Get Out of Town

While Lady KGB split from the hotel and went to buy her disappear tools, I was trying to figure out the best way to deal with the passports. Ideally, I would have preferred she drop the passports at the police station with a note of explanation. However, the surveillance cameras could capture her face. This would probably lead to an apprehension at the train station or airport.

I do not recommend disguises but in Lady KGB’s situation, I thought it would be best she utilized one. She picked up scissors, instant hair dye and a change of clothes. In a short period, she had a makeover and with a little luck, Lady KGB would go un-noticed.

I figured the safest place to drop the passports would be at a church. I located an open church and Lady KGB stuffed the passports in the donation box. When this was completed, she quickly made her way to the train station and purchased a ticket for the next train out of town. Lady KGB was now in the hunt and next I would turn her into a Virtual Entity.

When she safely made it to a new city, I had her check into a hotel with room service. This way she did not need to exit the room for food and would only hit the streets to obtain her needed disappear tools. This reduced her exposure.

I needed to figure out how Lady KGB would handle her suitcase full of euros. Traveling with a large amount of cash made her vulnerable to theft, loss and the law. Opening a bank account was not going to happen because she had no proof of address or other much needed identifiers. She also had no plans of staying in the country. To relieve Lady KGB of her cash problem I had her convert her cash into paper, plastic, metal and digital.


From Wiki – An international money order is very similar in many aspects to a regular money order except that it can be used to make payments abroad. With it, a buyer can easily pay a seller for goods or services if he or she resides in another country. International money orders are often issued by a buyer’s bank and bought in the currency that the seller accepts. International money orders are thought to be safer than sending currency through the post because there are various forms of identification required to cash an international money order, often including a signature and a form of photo identification.

Important: Before you purchase an international money order, it is imperative to address two vital questions.

First, will you be able to cash the international money order in your destination country?

Second, is the identification you possess sufficient to cash the money order in your destination country?

Assume you are in a hotel in Copenhagen and are disappearing to Warsaw. You visit Post Denmark and discover they do not sell international money orders, meaning the money orders they sell are not redeemable in Poland.

What you do next is locate a Polish bank that has a branch in Copenhagen and a branch in Warsaw. Before you visit the bank you need a mailing address in your disappear city, in this case Warsaw. I suggest using a large chain hotel as your address. Large hotels will accept packages for guest.

Once you find a Polish bank branch, speak with a manager and explain you are moving to Warsaw and will be working for a large chain hotel. Explain that your family gave you cash as a going away present and you do not want to carry the cash. Ask if the bank can provide a money order or bank check and if they are redeemable at their Warsaw branches. Again, confirm your proof of identity is sufficient to cash a money orders or bank check. I would avoid traveler’s checks.

The saying, a smile goes a long way is 100% true. When you are trying to obtain something from another person smile, be polite and ask about their day.  If you see, photos on their desk compliment them on their beautiful grandchildren. The goal is to have the person like you and to solve your problem.

Most bankers will suggest you open a bank account. However, the reality is if you will not have the proper documents, such as proof of address like utilities or phone bill. Nor will you have the relevant social identification number. If you can obtain a bank check or international money order, go for it!


The next step is to turn cash into plastic. You are going to hit the bricks to search convenience stores, cell phone stores and drug stores to purchase prepaid credit/debit cards. You want the type of prepaid/gift credit card you can top up immediately and walk out with a debit card loaded with funds.

When you purchase your prepaid debit cards next to it on the shelf should be top up cards that you purchase to add money. Most cards have a twenty-four hour spending limit. Some cards have monthly spending limit too. So be aware when choosing your card, you do not want to be caught short.

Also, buy multiple top up cards from different locations. As a backup take a photo of the debit cards and top up activation numbers in case you lose them.

Technology is changing and in some places top up cards are not necessary. Now you can bring the debit card to the register and top up directly at the register. The one concern about this is you could be carrying fifty debit cards, which could be lost, stolen or considered suspect.


Cash may be king but gold does not suck! Gold jewelry is no doubt a portable currency that can be bought and sold anywhere in the world. Hit up the local jewelry district and buy a few pieces of gold. I would suggest buying chains and bracelets since they can be worn and discretely hidden.  Do note you cannot pull a Mr. T and walk through customs with fifty chains around your neck.

Before you buy jewelry, do some quick homework about buying gold and do not be afraid to negotiate, negotiate and negotiate. Avoid buying anything with stones unless you know what you are doing.


Another way of getting money from Point A to Point B is to use a Western Union type of transfer service. Again, before you make a transaction confirm that you can collect the funds in your disappear destination and that your identification is sufficient enough for pick up. Do not wire an outrageous amount of money that will trigger a red flag. How much that is, I do not know do your homework.

Money Forward 

Another option is to open several secure mail drops online. I use the word secure because in this case you should search for a chain store mail drop, not Freaky Frank’s Mail Service. The mail drop has to be reputable because you are going to trust them with your money.

Using the money forward route is risky but sometimes there are no other options. When you open your mail drop, open for one year and pay a few hundred dollars on the account to have “international” express forwarding service.

After your mail drops are set up, buy birthday cards and enclose cash, money orders or prepaid debit cards. Write a nice note to yourself wishing you a happy birthday. Do not ship large amounts of cash it could be stolen.  You could express the envelopes or put your return address from another mail drop you own.

When you need the money from your mail drops, you check into a large chain hotel. You contact the mail drops and have them express your package to the hotel. The front desk will send up to your room when received.

Be discreet and only receive three or four per shipments per hotel and maybe a day or two apart. Getting fifteen international packages in one day to a hotel could appear suspicious.


A common money-laundering scheme is to utilize art. What one does is buy a piece of art for 100k, remove it from the frame, roll it up and place it in a poster tube. Then hop on a plane, land in a new country and do not disclose the value of the painting. Then you sell the painting for the best possible price and now you have X amount of undeclared money in a new country. However, the art route is a burned bridge; law enforcement has become hip to this method.

Lady KGB

Lady KGB was able to secure her funds a few different ways and then she left the city for her new disappear destination. This was not the end of Lady KGB’s work because she was going to be in the hunt and it was important to keep those bad boys she burned busy searching elsewhere. What I did next was create target locations where the predators would search.

Target Locations

A target location gives the impression that you are living in a specific city or recently departed from a city. A constant you will read in this book is about creating false leads. If you do not create false leads, the hunter will most likely discover the correct leads, if that happens adios muchacho.

The person or agency hunting you down will use your phone records, airlines, credit card records, bank records, internet search records and even the records of family, friends and employer. What this means is the hunter has an arsenal of information that could lead to your hiding place. You have only the tool of deception so use wisely.

In the past, I did many favors for law enforcement. It was common for an agency to reach out to a private investigator I knew and ask for information in order to bypass the subpoena process. If we learned anything from Edward Snowden it should be that, no information is safe.

A Bypass the Subpoena Story

One Friday afternoon I get a call from a PI who has a phone number he needs identified for the State Police. The heat busted some dude with a bag full of blow and not wanting to take the pinch the busted dude talks. He was willing to take the police to the house where he scored the drugs but the problem being he does not remember the address since a running partner drove him. However, he does have a phone number for the drug location.

The PI provided me with the phone number and I pretexted the local phone company as repair. Easy as pie but do not try this at home it is seriously illegal! I obtained the subscriber name on the account and the physical location of the drug house.

I gave the information to my client and he forwarded the information to police. The police ask the busted dealer if they drive him around the area could he identify the drug house. The dealer tells them he could and so they cruise the hood. The cops circle a few block and narrow down to the address I provided and eventually they drive down the correct street. The dealer points out the home of where he purchased the drugs. Later that afternoon more drug dealers are in shackles. The subpoena process bypassed. The lesson of this story is not everyone plays by the rules.

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Little Black Book Of Skip Tracing: Creating Pretext, Mastering Social Engineering And Finding Anyone Anywhere

What Next in Disappearing?

It has been seven years since the writing of How to Disappear and the pendulum of privacy has swung far past our favor. As they say, the Rubicon has been crossed and there is no return. Such has been revealed from information set forth by WikiLeaks and Snowden.

We went from the simplicity of cleaning computer cookies to discovering the that Television sets can play household spy. This is not a rise of the machine but the fall and failure of human rights. I would like to believe, if not hope that future will be stamped with a guarantee that we the people will maintain what is and should be ours but such a notion is pure silliness if not the border of my ignorance.

I think what is missing in the strategy of disappearing is the identification of one’s personal freedom. One must look beyond the word disappear and realize that this is only an action and freedom is the endgame. Being free is what most of us strive for, be it financial, travel, living abroad or safety from a predator.

In my first book, I promoted the tools of Misinformation, Disinformation, and Reformation. In retrospect, they now seem rudimentary at best. I say this because technology and social media have become extremely aggressive and invasive. The modus operandi for each is identifying our locations and extracting our connections. It is a hunt to take and use what should be rightfully ours. They have changed the strategies of the hunt and so we must change how we disappear.

So what next in disappearing?

Frank M. Ahearn
The Little Black Book of Skip Tracing

Disappearing With Don Quixote

Sometimes, freedom is a moment of being breathless and timeless. Sometimes, freedom is being a part of something and equally apart from something. Freedom is not always at the end of the road or a permanence obtained. Freedom can be a continuous motion in one’s life and gained in bits and pieces. Feeling free can be fleeting but if you are able to stand in its mist you have conquered and you are disappeared!

Last week I was hired to be in a TV commercial and on location I had a ton of time to kill. Most of it was spent under a windmill while the crew shot the Don Quixote scenes. I had this odd moment questioning, what am I doing here in La Mancha, Spain playing a role. The money, the acting, the being part of something larger than myself. Perhaps all, perhaps, none!

There I am covered in paint and looking like Nick Nolte on a crushed powder bender. I am frenetic, angry and I am an playing the artist flailing buckets of paint onto a plexiglass. I am screaming at the top of my lungs as if I am spitting out Pollock’s agony. I am anonymous in the situation, no one knows I am the guy who writes, talks and disappears people. This is the breathless I search for and the timeless I hunt. It is me playing someone else, touching freedom — in mind and physical.

The car ride out of Campo de Criptana was languid, peaceful and occupied by a feeling of letting go. I smiled under the heavy Spanish sun thinking that today, I disappeared with Don Quixote.

Frank M. Ahearn
The Little Black Book of Skip Tracing

The Feeling of Freedom

Over a cup of coffee, a friend of mine tells me there is no real freedom. He quoted philosophers and presented ideas from schools of philosophies and such. Most of it drifted past me and got lost in the stratosphere. The funny part is my friend lives the freest lifestyle out of anyone I know. He is retired, lives in a city he loves, travels extensively, and works at will. What’s not free about that?

I believe that freedom must first happen within and evolve as a personal philosophy, not something you read in a book. Although, when you own your idea there is nothing wrong with creating a code, like that of The Art of War or Machiavelli’s The Prince. Treatises like these are used in daily life and business, so why shouldn’t your freedom be used in the same manner?

It is important not mistake freedom as something bought with money, found off the grid or anonymous in Monaco, these are only external ideas of freedom. What I discovered is becoming free is first finding it within and truly feeling it. If you can touch that feeling you can get what you need to be free.

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of, The Little Black Book of Skip Tracing

The Limited State of Disappearing

As time goes on I am beginning the think that there is no such thing as disappearing. You can go on the run, in hiding, stay under the radar or off the grid but can you truly disappear? If you are somewhere and someone is hunting you, you are not disappeared but in the hunt! For most who have disappeared, it is a limited state of being. If you cannot lay your head on your pillow with absolute surety that you are safe, you are on the run.

I speak with many people who run disappear plans by me and most of them are failure from the get go. Most create a plan based upon a reaction to a current or coming situation. All strategy is about the big picture and should ever be exclusive to the immediate. If you think immediate you will get the immediate pay-off. However, the immediate may not be what is needed to be successful in the future.

Perhaps disappearing should be a state of mind and one should consider themselves perpetually on the run. It is like the idea of freedom, true freedom can only ring in one’s mind because society creates limitations. When there are limitations freedom is hindered. When there is a predator, disappearing will always be a limited state.

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Art of Disappearing: 199 Essential Privacy and Disappearing Tips

A Short Thought

Some search for new lives at distant palm trees shores. While others yearn to go unnoticed in foreign cities. The dreams are basically the same, to live free and own a life better than the one possessed. This is not foolishness tinkering or ideas filled with grandeur. This is the beginning to the art of life, a start of personal freedom.

Do be aware that that sitting in Plaza Santa Ana or Campo de’ Fiori does not make one free. A postal code or arrondissement is only a façade of freedom. Freedom is about how you live, how you work and who you are in relation to your world. This is accomplished by your actions not the results of the Rue or Calle you call home.

No matter the stage in life, be it filled with hard cash or near broke and desperate. Your journey should begin with you and shedding the rubble from your world. Meaning, change the things about you before you change your city. If not, you will still be the same person in a different city. Perhaps, that is what you want.

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: The Art of Disappearing, According to Sun Tzu’s, Art of War: Book One: Laying Plans