How to Disappear

How to Buy a New Identity

The strangeness! There I am wandering the streets of New York when the conversation of the people in front of me spills over. The woman talking suggests he purchases a new identity online. The gentleman thought this was a rather brilliant idea. In fact, a friend of hers got a new Florida driver’s license on the internet.

She did add a brilliant piece of advice and told the gentleman that he should get himself a pre-paid debit card to make the purchase. This way no one knows it is him buying the fake identity. He asked what happened to her friend. It turns out he disappeared to Belize with a fake passport, and no one ever saw him again.

Do some people really believe that purchasing a new identity is no different than a purchase from Amazon? If only it were!

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: How to Disappear & The Little Black Book of Skip Tracing

Manuscript Consulting For Writers

Consulting on Novels & Film Scripts

My expertise helps writers bring accuracy and realism to their novels and scripts.

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I truly enjoy storytelling and working with writers who are passionate about their projects. My unique background and expertise will provide you with an interesting perspective into a world very few experience. I have worked with all levels of writers, from New York Times Bestselling authors to Golden Globe and Oscar winners. 

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Frank M. Ahearn
Author of How to Disappear

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How to Disappear – Pretext or Deceive

How you go about combating your online information is extremely important. Pre-text may or may not be an option. It really depends on your confidence skills and your ability to come up with a workable pretext. When I say “pretext,” I do not narrow it to picking up the phone and gagging someone. Pretext can include an email claiming a photo of you is copyright-protected and insisting the website take the photo down.

In the skip tracing world we have what is called a one-shot deal, where you have only one opportunity to pretext. If you fail, you are shit out of luck and the pretext may just backfire. Remember Barbara Streisand? The one-shot deal business partner is Mr. Kick-back, one of those things you never want to happen. It’s when everything blows up in your face because the person or entity you did the pretext on just doesn’t believe you.





It is very important that you carefully consider the down-side to pretexting a website or simply requesting they take down your information. You do not want it to backfire, with the person behind the curtain deciding to call your bluff and the next thing you know, your pretext is the next big story on Jezebel. If the pretext route does not work for you, then you move forward and work the tools of deception.

When one utilizes deception as a weapon to battle online information, one needs to do so with the mindset of total war. Think of the websites as belligerents who post your information or your child’s information for the sheer purpose of making advertising money. What site doesn’t have Google ads or click-thru links? Your information is their inventory. The idea of total war is to

use all available resources to win the battle. My purpose is to teach you the Weapons for Waging War and Winning against the Digital Enemy.

The first step in combating your online information is locating all of your Digital DNA. The best way to categorize your Digital DNA is into five digital genes of information.

The Five Genes of Digital DNA

SELF is the information that you provided to third-party sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter, online comments and any other sites where you physically participated in broadcasting.

PIV stands for Personal Information Violation, which is when someone posts your information or photo online without your permission.

DATABASE is the information that sells for $9.99 and typically consists of public records and other free online information.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION is information that is protected, such as newspaper articles, photos and other content deemed as protected.

IMAGES are photos of you floating around in digital dystopia.

The next few chapters show you how you will play digital detective and hunt for everything that is known about you. The problem with information online is that it’s like an ocean where the tides and currents choose their time and direction. Therefore, once you locate your information, I suggest that you wait a few days and redo the search for information you possibly missed or that was recently posted.

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

How to Disappear & Remove Online Information

I am posting the Digital Hit Man online.

The Run Down:

There are a few ways to remove your information from a website, such as politely asking them to remove the information, hacking the site and creating massive destruction, or creating a pretext that prompts them to remove the information. Unfortunately, asking does not always work and sometimes the request you make could backfire in your face and create the Streisand Effect.

The Streisand effect is primarily an online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence inadvertently generated further publicity.

As far as hacking goes, most of us do not know how to hack, so that’s probably a dead end street. It is also illegal, and what’s the point of that? Why get your-self jammed up?

Pretext: Creating a lie to cloak your true intentions in order to obtain or manipulate information

If hacking or asking to remove your information is not a viable option, you can always attempt a pretext. Pretext is all about lying and convincing the bastard who is posting your information to remove the information. There is good pretext and then there is bad pretext. Good pretext is “Hi. I’m being stalked. Can you please take information down off your site?” And bad pretext is “Hi. This is the FBI. We need you to remove information from your site.”  That is a no-no!

Part of my writing dilemma was trying to figure out how to take this deception in my head and put it on paper and have it make sense because some things in my head just do not make sense when I put them on paper. Then again, at times it seems a lot of things in my head make no sense. After the disappearing washed from my veins and the new blood of deception arrived, I had to figure out and somehow categorize the deception, and this is what I came up with.

The Tools of Online Deception

Digital DNA: Locating all of your online information and preparing for combat.

Corp-Distort-Delete: Distorting your online accounts.

The Pretext Solution: Pretexting website to remove your online information.

Digital Distortion: Creating same name websites with different extensions and then stripping negative information and replacing it with positive or neutral information on your sites.

Fake Digital Identities: Creating websites, blogs and social sites that all share your name.

Photo Distortion and Photo Doubles: The utilization of fake photos 

Propagation: Marketing the shit out of your online information.

Total War: When all else fails, Total War means going head to head with the websites.

These are the tools I came up with and that I believe will assist you in combating your online information. So sit back, strap in and let’s go for a ride.

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


How to Disappear Or Not

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO – How to Disappear from Big Brother

Marc Stuart Dreier was a lawyer and in 2009 he was arrested for a litany of fraud charges. I know it is a shocker. Imagine a lawyer committing a crime who would have thought. I watched a documentary titled Unraveled about Drier. A camera crew hung with him for thirty days prior to his sentence.

The meat of the crime was Drier approached a hedge fund company and claimed his client wanted to borrow money on the QT. The hedge fund company was interested and so Drier supplied them with bogus financial statements and brokered the phony deal. What began as a one-million-dollar fraud escalated to the tune of several hundred million bucks. That my friend is a whole lotta fritters.

Drier built a huge law firm that had offices in New York, Los Angeles, Connecticut, and a few other places. What no one knew was he was funding the law firm with stolen money. Drier owned a super cool apartment in New York, a huge house in the Hamptons, a nice place in Anguilla and a kick ass Aston Martin. His life amounted to being the boss of a law firm and the boss of a fraud firm.

In the documentary Drier talked about being in a situation where he needed to create more fraud to pay off the old fraud. Again, this was a situation where a thief had no exit plan. He kept the hamster wheel spinning and swindling more money.

Drier stated that when the market turned around and slipped it became more difficult to locate new marks to rip off. What I found interesting about Drier was when he was in Dubai he knew the end was near. He claimed he had one hundred million dollars in the bank and claimed that Dubai has no extradition. He was thinking of staying but did not want to be away from his children.

Drier returned to the US and headed up to Toronto to try one last fraud but it blew up in his face. He was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to twenty long ones.

What I do not understand about these white-collar fools who spin their wheels hustling here, defrauding there only to end up in the big house. To a degree, they are like drug lords. We all know that most drug lords will share the same destiny. What is it about those lifestyles and breeds, where neither exit the game?

Perhaps it is never the plan or fantasy to disappear with millions and billions. Maybe it is about doing the hustle, until it hustles no more.

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

How Not to Disappear – A Mastermind Criminal of Capitalism

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE – How to Disappear from Big Brother

Another mastermind criminal of capitalism is Fly Boy Marcus Schrenker. A common story read in the headlines of America, rich Wall Street type rips off investors. In 2009, the whip came down and BIG BROTHER came calling on Fly Boy.

In a pickup truck with a motor cycle in the back, he made his way to Alabama. In a rented storage facility Fly Boy stashed his motor cycle and his other disappear goods. Sounds like a Springsteen song.

The following day Fly Boy straps himself into the pilot’s seat of his plane and makes his way to the friendly skies. Above the state of Alabama fly Boy places a distress call stating, windows broke and blood everywhere. Plane switched to autopilot Fly Boy bails out and yells Geronimo! What a dumb ass bailing out of a plane that could have caused mass disaster below.


Here is a question about criminals like Fly Boy. Do they leave behind damage pay for the family? Fly Boy steals a boatload of dough and goes on the run. At any point, did he ever think about protecting his family from the looming hell that would ultimately arrive at the family doorstep?

If you are a criminal crafty enough to take a big slice of another person’s pie, at least put some crumbs away for your family.

Two Words – Offshore Bank –  Four Words – Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty

Fly Boy’s plane crashed a few miles from a residential community and when the police searched the plane, they found a campground directory. There were a few pages from Florida and Alabama ripped out. Duh, even Inspector Clouseau could deduce the crash as suspect.

Fly Boy hits the ground in Alabama and is now on the run. He finds a house nearby, knocks on the door and claims he was in a canoeing accident. The kind stranger drives him to the police station and the po-po drive Fly Boy to a local motel. If you search Fly Boy’s name for images you will see a photo of him checking into the motel.

Fly Boy goes through all the trouble of stashing his Go-On- The-Run-Items in a storage facility. He escapes in his plane, issues a distress call, switches the plane to autopilot and bails out of the plane. It is one crazy plan where he went to extreme lengths to execute. What sticks with me is this elaborate plane crash and he walks into a motel and allows himself to be captured on video. Only one word describes his actions STUPID! Did he not consider the fact that cameras will record his smug mug and this could prove he is not dead?

I suggest people who disappear under normal circumstance not use a disguise. If you faked your death in a plane crash, you will become national if not international news in a matter of time. This is when a disguise would be appropriate. The photo of Schrenker in the motel is like a deer in the headlights. You know that stupid stare. He had no wig, no mustache and no hat, no looking down at the floor, no hand covering his face, nothing to disguise his identity. Two words here, big dumb-ass!

This is my point about people who fake their death; they do not think long term. Fly Boy obviously never asked himself how he would make his way past social surveillance cameras. To boot he gets in a car with a cop. Can you imagine that night while the cop is home eating good southern fried chicken and watching the news. He sees Fly Boy’s face flash on the screen as the reporter reports of the fiery crash. The same goes for the people who drove him to the police station and the motel desk clerk. Less than twelve hours after he fakes his death a minimum of three people have seen him alive. Only one word describes his actions STUPID!

If I was going to fake my death I would travel my route as covertly as possible and create an A to Z list of all potential cameras on my route. This would assist with identifying dangerous locations in my exit. How you get away from the scene of your demise is something that should be planned, you just don’t wing it. There is more to faking your death then faking your death.

By Fly Boy, driving up to a storage facility in Alabama close to the day of his disappearance was a huge blunder. This action alone could have taken him out the game. He left behind many digital trails. The pickup truck could have GPS. Did he go through any tolls? Stop for gas or food, use a credit card or cash What about his cell phone, did he receive or place any calls? If so easily tracked.

The day after Fly Boy lands he checks out of the motel, retrieves his motorcycle and is now Mr. Easy Rider. He makes haste to the KOA Campground in Quincy, Florida. He pays one night to camp in a tent while he enjoys a six-pack of beer. Here is the big mystery, why did he go to a campground and not head down Mexico way. The next day Mr. Easy Rider did not check out of the campground on time.

The owners of the campground went to check on Fly Boy and noticed red stains on the tent they assumed it was blood. Also, the local police contacted the campground asking if anything unusual or out of the ordinary were happenings. It was not long until Marcus Schrenker was looking down the wrong end of a gun barrel.

Fly Boy should have just left town and not have created an elaborate death plan that ultimately failed. The man who stole a bunch of loot and devised a crazy flying exit plan meets his fall in the Redneck Riviera. Sometimes karma and justice has a warped sense of humor.

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

How to Disappear & Fake Your Death

CHAPTER TWENTY – How to Disappear From Big Brother

For you fraudsters who want to cash in on an insurance policy remember there must be an exchange for the check. All insurance companies want a death certificate and it is seriously difficult to get a death certificate without a cold rotting body.

Before you run into the ocean or leave your car on a bridge with a suicide note scribbled in dirt. It is imperative you properly plan and properly evaluate your act of fraud. The execution of the act must be flawless but the “explanation” of why no body exists must be Columbo Proof.

What is Columbo Proof? It is your crime being perfect, airtight and super solid. It is avoiding the words “One more thing…” rolling from the mouth of a detective.

Pseudocide Red Flags

A pseudocide red flag can be a supposed death that happens in a body of water. If you plan to fake your death by water, do not be a dumb-ass and do it in a lake. 

Foreign Deaths 

For a while, foreign deaths were popular in the pseudocide world. However, it is one thing to fake your death and get a death certificate from France, Germany or Ireland. It is another thing to get a death certificate in Haiti, Belize, Panama or Columbia.  If a death certificate is obtained from a third world nation, it will not be an easy ride. I would say most insurance companies if not all will investigate the death out of the claim if in a third world nation or step above.

Third Word Deaths Are Always Suspicious

The one who fakes their death is a lonesome soul going up against an investigating machine and the deep pockets of an insurance company. When the beneficiary files the insurance claim be aware there is a department of investigators, a budget and access to the best investigative sources available. After you kicked the can in Columbia, there is one goal for the investigator, prove or disprove if you are ten toes up. It is a duel of deception!

This is a gamble for you because you do not know if you if are going up against LT. Columbo or Deputy Barney Fife. Most Insurance Investigators are good at their jobs and some can be quite tenacious. If you have a red flag claim by water or on foreign soil, the odds of winning are stacked against you.

Changing Policy

If you made a change to your insurance policy by increasing the amount, you are an idiot.

Missing Person

A missing person claim to a death claim is extremely difficult to accomplish. A PI I know worked a case that involved a French college student who went missing. The story goes that the Pierre the student was found wandering the streets of Miami naked and yelling that people were out to kill him.

The police took Pierre to the nuthatch for a weekend visit where he was given meds and released a few days later. That night Pierre emailed his friends and family that he was in fear for his life. No one ever heard from Pierre again.

A few years later the family came to terms with the fact that Pierre was probably deceased. The family needed to settle his estate and property owned in Paris but they needed the state of Florida to issue a death certificate.

The family hired a private dick who ripped Pierre’s life apart. The PI was able to trace Pierre’s final steps to a small boat dock. A witness recalled that he was having a party on his boat that night and thought someone did in fact fall in the water. When the police investigated, they assumed it was a large bird grabbing fish. The witness disagreed. Ultimately, the PI investigating the case concluded that Pierre most likely took his life.

A hearing took place to determine if Pierre was deceased or not. The PI walked into court loaded for bear with hard information that pointed to Pierre’s suicide. Shockingly, the judge ruled against the family stating that there was not enough evidence to issue an order for a death certificate. Six months later, someone found Pierre’s body in a field.

What Do You Do?

Think about Pierre’s scenario. What if it is thirty days after you have faked your death and your spouse secretly contacts you letting you know the courts will not sign off on a death certificate. This means the insurance company will not hand over the big check. What do you do when your money and your spouse’s money begins to run out? I bet you never thought about this option. 

Unusual Calls

Phone calls made to countries you have not called in the past would be of interest to an insurance investigator. You might be wondering how the insurance company would locate. Simple, a skip tracer illegally obtains your phone records. Sure, it is illegal but who said anyone abides by the law. 

Service Websites

Service websites are sites such as home rentals, utilities, cable, chamber of commerce, banks and other such sites one would search while planning a move. Any of these types of websites showing up on your IP is a red flag. I mentioned in a previous chapter that these types of searches can be done for misinformation purposes to throw the predators off your trail but there should be no fake trail in pseudocide.

Books & Streaming

Do not buy books about travel or disappearing if you plan to fake your death. Do not stream videos about foreign cities or download audio to learn a new language.

Common sense dictates that if you plan to open a business you should educate yourself in that industry. What I do not understand is why criminals who commit crimes do not study the business of crime.

“Don’t Do the Crime if You Can’t Do the Time.” Baretta

I would venture to say that most criminals commit crimes for financial gain. If I were teaching a “how to” course on crime it would be Crime 101. I would assign homework and the first assignment would be to learn how to evaluate the true worth of a crime. There a scene in the movie Heat where Robert De Niro’s character is discussing a crime and he says something to the nature that the crime is worth a stretch. It is crazy thinking but some criminals do think this way.

Imagine a criminal who sticks up a liquor store and takes eight hundred bucks from the register. A week later, he is busted and eventually sentenced to five years in the big house. The day he walks to freedom and looks back on what he earned from the crime, it will be a whopping $3.07 per day. He could have gotten a job in McDonalds and made that eight hundred in three or four weeks. Instant gratification is never a wise in the world of crime.

Risk vs. Reward

I am sure the liquor store criminal never looked into the neighboring state to search the penalties of armed robbery there. Perhaps the neighboring state is far more lenient with drug users. I bet if the drugs were better in the neighboring state, no doubt the criminal would Grey Hound it over the state line.

I know this is somewhat absurd but it is risk verses reward. I read about one woman who faked her death because she did not want to go to court for a minor offense. She was immediately arrested and her actions compounded her problems. A situation where she would have received probation turned into an unwelcome vacation wearing unfashionable orange.

Why do criminals not watch crime TV? How many times have we seen the video of the heat grilling a suspect in the interrogation room and the criminal is trying to bullshit the detective? Think about it, if you are in that interrogation room there is a strong possibility that you just might be the one who committed the crime. When a cop tells you that you have the right to remain silent shut up and remain silent.

The First 48 is an excellent cop show that profiles real homicide cases. I would say that the majority of people arrested do NOT take heed of the Miranda Rights. The minute a law enforcement official identifies who they are, the only words one should speak after that is “I WANT A LAWYER.’ There are plenty of innocent people wearing orange and stripes.

No one ever wants to hear a Lt. Columbo say, “One more thing…”

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