How to Disappear – Stop!

CHAPTER NINE – How to Disappear from Big Brother

Do not permit your internet connection to become your accomplice. One of the most serious mistakes disappear hopefuls commit when the idea of disappearing sparks in the mind is not stopping what they are doing and walking away from their computer.

There is no shortage of dumb people in the news. We have read about Mr. Dumbass who emails his son his new contact information after he fakes his death. Then there is Mrs. Idiot who emails her disappear plans to the lover that killed her husband. My favorite is Mr. Chainsaw Shovel Dumbass on the surveillance camera buying the murder tools with cash.

Cash Does Not Make You Anonymous!

Your internet connection is a rat and the worst partner in crime you could ever solicit. In the real world, some partners in crime are stand up guys and can take a pinch.

Once you entrust your internet connection with pieces of your disappear plan there is no turning back. Understand that your internet connection is the biggest rat in the world and will always dime you out! Your internet connection will never invoke the right to remain silent.

What happens is your internet history enters the digital witness protection program and waits to testify against you. There is no hit man capable of killing your internet history

The message of this chapter is to learn from stupid criminals. Stupid criminals leave traces and do not think beyond the crime. Stupid criminals usually believe they are the smartest one in the crime. The mindset and strategy to embrace is that the predator or BIG BROTHER is the smartest one in the room. By thinking this way, you will never under estimate their abilities.

STOP means stop! Stop all of your surfing and searching from your computers. You are probably thinking or hoping that I am going to lead you to an untraceable solution. Well, you are wrong.

Searching for the untraceable is a fool’s journey, it is the Holy Grail and Noah’s Ark and neither exist. For every software that touts untraceable, some geek is breaking the code. All those privacy software services and anonymous connections you signed up for are useless.

This is not to say that some badass hacker from Anonymous cannot create an untraceable connection. What I am saying is the average person reading this book does not have the technical skills to create their own untraceable connection. Nor could most test privacy software and determine if it truly is private. Using software that makes claims is only placing blind faith in a label. Unless you are a techie, geek keep to what you know.

For the moment, forget about where you are going to locate an untraceable computer and connection. It is time to clean up the digital trace you left behind. Meaning the digital dirt you created in the early stages of your disappear searching.

That would the curious photos of Bimini, airfare to Jamaica, year round weather in Buenos Aires, and banks in Finland and relationship sites in Riga. Trust me ninety-nine percent of you reading this book have digital flakes in the wake. I would wager that at least fifty percent of readers have typed how to disappear into a search engine on a traceable computer or connection.

In six months from now when one of you has faked their death law enforcement or an insurance investigator will obtain a history of IP addresses searched. Law Enforcement might be able to obtain the search terms entered into a search engine. When they discover the words how to disappear in your list the jig will be up and you will be in the hunt.

The information you searched about disappearing cannot be erased or undone. If you planned on faking your death, sorry dude but you are cooked.

If you planned on disappearing from a predator there is hope. You will need to get back on each of the traceable and identifiable computers and connections you utilized and create damage control.

Keep in mind there are two type of footprints created. One is the computer you used and the second is the internet connection you used.

Make a list of computers used and the locations where you accessed the internet. For example if you have a personal laptop you use at home and work, that is three connection. 

Personal Laptop – Home Connection – Work Connection 

If you used your personal laptop at the coffee shop on the corner and your sister’s home those places need to be added to your connection.

Personal Laptop – Home Connection – Work Connection – Coffee Shop Connection – Sister’s Connection

The same goes if you went to your Aunt Agnes’s for Thanksgiving and you searched for apartments in Caye Caulker on your smart phone. The important question is did you conduct the search via your cell phone wireless or did you jump on Aunt Agnes’s wireless connection?

It is vital you remember three key pieces. Hardware used, like phone or laptop. Connections used, home, work, cell phone and last but far from the least what destinations you searched. You certainly do not want to end up in any of those places.

Think about the various services like banks, cell carriers, web hosting and anything else that could lead to your downfall. Could you imagine if you disappeared to Fiji and six months later BIG BROTHER or another predator gets hold of your internet search history?

All it takes is one search forgotten to land yourself in the mouth of the lion. Always remember that if it turns on or off, it possibly has history!

The BIG BROTHER traceable list goes on and on and on and never ends. If you are in the hunt, I have no doubt that BIG Brother is peaking into your friends and family. I want you to also think geography and ask yourself if you searched the net at any public locations near your work.

Did you sip a latte in a café searching Chicago or eat burger while searching Bruges. Perhaps you surfed at the library down the block or at your sister’s home and brothers business.

Did you drive to an internet café? The GPS in your car will rat you out. Did you bring your cell phone with you when you searched from an internet café across town? If so your cell phone GPS could reveal the location. I am sure you left a dirty digital trail behind but wait there is more.

Have you flown on a plane lately? If so, did you use the onboard wireless? Surely, BIG BROTHER would not find out about that. Wrong! I have no doubt BIG BROTHER is gobbling up all internet use on planes. All those offshore banks you read about online are dead in the water. Think, think and think some more. Where did you surf from and how will BIG BROTHER find your digital trail or connection?

As you probably know at this point prior to my illustrious career in the disappearing and privacy world, I was a skip tracer and located people in all parts of the world for many a reasons.

One such client I remained in touch with is Mr. Roulette. He reached out to me and asked if I could locate some scoundrel that ran off with a few million euros. I am still waiting for my opportunity to run off with a few million euros myself. If you have, any ideas run them by me.

The subject, Mr. Munich had an office in downtown Munich and when I did some searching, I discovered he never had any internet services connected in his office. However, he did leave behind a few pieces of information that led me to Belfast.

Keep something in mind not having internet connected in your home or office only pushes a predator to search for your internet connection elsewhere. Do not leave that to fate, set up a bogus connection that the predator will discover.

After pounding the streets of Belfast for a few days, I was able to locate an apartment Mr. Munich rented. That apartment never had internet, phone or cable TV service connected. Mr. Munich was somewhat slick. So he thought.

Since the Munich office and Belfast apartment had no internet service one of two things were happening. He used an internet air card, hopped on someone else’s service or went to an internet café

Mr. Munich seemed like a smart criminal so I assumed he did not use a wireless connection he physically carried. If he were apprehended law, enforcement they would know his search history and this would bring him down.

While wandering the streets of Belfast I noticed a few internet places he could have utilized to do his surfing. I took a shot and went into an internet café that I assumed the Mr. Munich may have used. It was a small place and in close proximity, a total gamble on my part. I laid down three hundred euros in front of the woman working the cash register and I asked for a list of IP addresses accessed in past sixty days. The pink haired woman asked if I was serious, and I slid the cash her way. She was kind enough to print the IP’s numerical and then by date. From there I walked to a shipping store and faxed the list of IP’s to my third party service in Denmark.

My Denmark contact enlisted her friends to assist with the job of identifying the various information I was able to extract. One piece of information led to a bank in Monaco; I knew this had to be Mr. Munich. I doubt that any of the customers who used the Belfast internet cafes were checking their balances in Julius Baer.

The information I located was like a road map to Nice and Monaco. One particular group of searches was of interest to me. It was to an exotic car rental company and a particular hotel.

I hopped on a plane to Nice and visited the hotel but I was unable to locate Mr. Munich and could not get any information from the staff.

Next, I hit up the exotic car rental company. I knew they would not provide me with any information about who rented what car. Therefore, I inquired about the types of cars that were not currently available. I assumed that one of those cars would be the one Mr. Munich would be driving.

My next stop was to all the expensive restaurants and I spread a bunch of euros around to the valets. I asked them to keep an eye for a short man with a German accent driving a particular type of luxury car. The following day I received a call and sure enough, a valet identified Mr. Munich. I contacted my client who handled the matter from there on.

Perhaps Mr. Munich should have traveled further away from the Belfast apartment to do his online business. The searches to Nice and Monaco were so uncharacteristic of the Belfast neighborhood. It shot up red flags immediately. It would not have been a red flag if the information were from an internet café in a nice neighborhood in Paris.

I will assume you have created a list of all the compromised computers and locations. Therefore, after you have the list, go to each computer and create digital dirt. Which is digital deception you create and leave behind for others to find.

If you searched realtors, banks and other types of services in Jamaica or Dominica search deeper into both countries. Search singles websites, hospitals, airlines, expat communities and other information relevant to you.

If you searched, drivable locations do a few different searches on MapQuest. For example, if you live in Chicago and you searched Chicago to Phoenix. Look up airlines in Phoenix for flights to Mexico. Then search MapQuest for driving directions from Durango to Monterey, Mexico. Search hotels and banks in Monterey.

Do not forget to search restaurants, supermarkets and email the Chamber of Commerce with a few questions. The searching cannot be cursory, such as one search to the chamber of commerce. Also, search on different days and jump around from page to page.

Do more than surf. Open a few email accounts and do some emailing. Email the local Electric Company, Phone Company, hotels and car rental companies. Create dialogue and ask questions in the emails. Contact a local doctor and ask how you can transfer your medical records. Search YouTube for foreign language videos. The goal is to have the digital predator believe you have split to one of the compromised cities.

You should realize that since you searched your destination from compromised computers and connections there will be no disappearing to those places.

Some people talk too much. If you are the chatty type of fellow or dame, ask yourself if your lips have betrayed you and if you shared your disappearance or destination with another.

Think beyond random chatter. Do you have that dream place in mind that everyone knows about? You know what I mean, the poster of St. Kitts on your wall or travel books about Barcelona.

Are you the person who always talked about moving to Paris or Madrid? Are your computer screen photos of Lisbon? Perhaps you have that travel book of Geneva on your bookshelf. Look around your home and search for possible clues that could lead to your disappear city. You may not think it but something as silly as a refrigerator magnet of a city could be your downfall.

When Frank M. Ahearn disappears, his circle of people will know it will be on some street off Boulevard Raspail. They all know this because I share my dream. If you shared your dream destination with others, it is time to change up the dream.

Imagine BIG BROTHER banging on your friends door wanting to know where you went. Your friend is shaking at the idea that BIG BROTHER rang his bell. He has no clue where you went but they push harder. Your friend says all he knows is you had a photo of Bagua Grande, Peru on your refrigerator, busted!

Frank M. Ahearn
Author of: 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 Peanut Butter Café in Monaco

Today my thoughts flow from this month’s meeting at The Peanut Butter Café in Monaco. I was prepared to discuss how a high-net-worth client can create more privacy and security for their family. However, the topic of Donald Trump stole the conversation and me being an American, the group was curious about my thoughts. Truthfully, I am not a political person and I am usually reluctant to share my thoughts. I was asked to give one thought of Donald Trump winning the election. I equate it to Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, however, in this case the Hudson River is the Rubicon and it seems more like a reality show than the forward of a nation.

The question is can the new America affect your digitally nomadic or expat life? Has Brexit negatively affected citizens living abroad? We must always think about, the what if and the what if it happens to me. Be aware of political happenings from home because the ripples can drift your way and do damage. Donald appears myopic on the idea of making America great again, myopic in the sense that it is his idea of what will make America great again and a population of people but not the whole. I guess this is the point of being an expat, finding a patch of land where politics, health care and quality of life have a balance. Perhaps we will all be surprised and Donald will be more like Marcus Aurelius, if not be prepared.

Lady Luxembourg

Luxembourg café, sipping coffee with time to kill… I strike up conversation with a woman from LA. She has been living in Europe for fifteen years. In brief, we share our history and begin to talk about what it means to leave a world behind. She revealed that she ran from something, though not a predator but a broken life. A random trip dropped her on the streets of Luxembourg and she fell in love and knew it would become her home.

Upon arrival, she felt much like an outsider and unsure how to integrate. At first she blamed the people and the multi-culture of the city. However, as time moved she discovered that she carried her old world into her new. In her words, she planted a damaged seed in good soil. She realized that working and setting up a new household was only one part of moving on from the past.

The how to tools of privacy are important but by no means are they the only ingredients for living successfully off the radar. I have said it a thousand times, you cannot be Jack the bus driver in London and the then be Jack the bus driver in Monaco. Therefore, think beyond the fears of connections, the discreet communications, the Five Flag Theory and offshore banking. Think about who you want to become and work that as hard as you work your expectations of privacy.

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

The Peanut Butter Cafe in Monaco

Last week I was out in a bar and met some new people and the usual introductions were traded. When it came to me, I hesitated and said I was a writer and stopped speaking. This created a huge lull in the conversation and my partner looked at me and joking asked if I wanted to contribute more. Honestly, I did not want to and so I avoided the whole Frank spiel. I think this was my ah-ha moment, where I realized that I am spent and it is time to move on from this business. In the past, I have stated that disappearing would be a limited run in my life. The difficult part is what next for Frank M. Ahearn? Do I cut it off completely, do I still write about disappearing, do I finish the current book I have been writing? Time will tell.

I know you are not here to read my rant but learn about privacy and disappearing. Well, this applies if you plan to disappear. The first step in disappearing is recognizing you need to disappear. This does not only apply to facing a predator but it could apply to your life or your profession. This is the how to disappear threshold moment, the knowing there must be an exodus of sorts. This is an internal and philosophical question of self which needs to be answered before you plan anything. Part of the questioning includes, can you put your world behind you and fall off that grid. For me, what do I do if I am not Professor Disappear or even scarier can I be something else? Leaving part of life behind does not guarantee one rises like a Phoenix.

Figuring out what next has always been a challenge for me. I have always sought choice and freedom, combined with some serious dreaming. If I had my druthers, I would be in a writers room in LA working on a TV show with Julie Plec or running an exotic Peanut Butter & Jelly café in Monaco. Or maybe, I will write a TV show about a retired privacy expert who runs a peanut butter café in Monaco or LA. If one is going to end a part of their life, they might as well dream in the beginning and then face the realities. Unfortunately, disappearing comes down to one fact, can you earn a living. Everything else is inconsequential because if you cannot pay the rent in LA or Monaco, you will not be able to build a life in such places.

The purpose is this writing is not so much about the first time you think about disappearing but the potential of a second disappearance occurring. What happens if two years into the disappearance you are unhappy with your life and you begin to question. Not so much the idea of returning to your old life but where next?

I disappeared from my life in the US and moved to Europe to write and work my privacy business. I have been fortunate and live the expat dream of sitting in terraza’s, cruising around Venice, Paris, Rome and other cool places. Basically I have been living like a bohemian. Here it is, two years later and something wild happened, I fell in love and this has changed everything.

The point is, if you are planning to disappear or are disappeared keep in mind that it all can change at any moment. This change can be because of money, love or disaster. So, in your planning or daily disappeared life think about the flexibility of change and the pursuit of not just your dreams but the ability to have choice because true freedom is having choice.

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

Monte Carlo Bob

What do you do if you are disappeared or an expatriate if a foreign country and your world is going to bottom out in thirty days? You have a few friends but none can be of help, there is no family to lean on, the savings ran dry and your income no longer provides. These are realistic misfortunes of the disappeared and those who sought freedom as an expatriate. One such story comes from Monte Carlo Bob.

The reason I introduce this scenario is because of things occurring in my own life. Meaning, I have reached the point where I am removing myself from the disappear business and the question of what next is on my plate. Sure, I can write but I am no Stephen King and the skip tracing is cool but not how I want to spend the next ten years of my life. The point here is if you are planning a disappearance or even becoming an expat, you must always be prepared for change, be it misfortune or by your own hand.

Recently, I have been in conversation, with a number of expats in Europe and they have been cool enough to open up with their stories. Last year I met Monte Carlo Bob from Auckland who moved to a European beach and started a juice business. Monte Carlo Bob had the life, for him it was all about catching rays and ocean sprays. Unfortunately, he never thought the good times would end. Boy do I know that story.

Business fell off and eventually nosedived into nothingness. He figured it was just this or that never considering that it was over. Sometimes a hard reality for entrepreneurs to bite. Monte Carlo Bob decided to stick it out and keep pushing sand up the hill. His avoidance of his reality brought him to a place he had never been before, fifty euros in his pocket and forty-three in his bank account. All he could say to himself was, WTF and how did he get there.

During this time Monte Carlo Bob met a woman and fell in love. However, his life was a mess and trying to date a woman while hiding his failing life was a difficult feat. One evening the couple was out on a stroll in the trendier part of town and his woman commented on the beauty of the restaurants. Bob was devastated because he could not even afford to buy appetizer. This was crushing and he knew it was time to stop being Sisyphus and give up the business he worked so hard at and truly loved.

Monte Carlo Bob explained that he broke his life down into acts of survival. The first act of survival was to do something that created food money. To make food money he needed a phone and the internet. This afforded him the opportunity to do something he hated, cold-calling. Bob figured that since his shop was closing he could sell the last of his inventory to other shops. He woke each morning and did what he had to do. However, he recognized that selling the inventory would only bring so much money. Bob need to figure out how to make Real Money to get his life back together. He did this by tweaking his product to make it more affordable from a wholesale perspective. He admits that it broke his soul to watch his dream crumble but on the flipside, this move made his relationship with his woman right and whole.

I met Monte Carlo Bob in Monaco last year during a speech for a group of business people. He approached me and wanted to share this story and let me know that disappearing is not only for people with predators. That sometimes life is about disappearing from ourselves in order to create a better self. Being a true entrepreneur Monte Carlo Bob needed another dream and is now trying to reinvent peanut butter, the way Ben & Jerry did for ice cream.

Frank M. Ahearn – www.Disappear.Info

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