Skip Tracing

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
www.FrankAhearn.com
The Little Black Book of Skip Tracing

The Allure of Skip Tracing

I often think about the line from The Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in…” This is how I feel about skip tracing, no matter what happens in my life I somehow end up back in this business. Not that this is a bad thing but I will admit there is a love, hate relationship. I love the act and art of skip tracing. The research part is challenging and the pretext aspect feeds my creative. It is the business side I dislike but I will refrain from discussing that element.

For a person like me, there is something cool about looking at information and trying to make sense of it. Which pieces will lead me onward to the road of discovery. It is like trying to create order and form in a world with no boundaries as well as connecting the non-tangible to the tangible. To a certain extent, it is taking lost information, or I should say the left behind information and reuniting it with the reluctant owner.

Unfortunately, the type of skip tracing I am currently working is too easy. That is not to say I find everyone but most. It is like searching for a lemming, most have the same pattern whether it is New York, Monaco, London, Luxembourg, or Auckland. The only barrier in skip tracing is the language but most times I can work through that. Although, Eastern European countries can be difficult but most are fair game.

I began skip tracing in the mid-eighties and not much has changed. There are databases which has alleviated the need for the hundred pounds of Coles Directories. This statement is no doubt showing my age. The internet has also alleviated the need for Directory Assistance, which was a huge expense each month. Social Media has created a new area of search. Basically, skip tracing has not changed much.

But my dilemma. I feel like a hunter who has engages in small game. The deadbeat, the guy who needs to be served, the long-lost-love and similar types of skips. I need some big game, something challenging, something to get me away from my desk. Something that brings me to the hills of Italy or the shores of Greece. I need that search where I do not know if I am going to locate the subject in an hour in Kamloops or Oslo. I am tired of looking at the skip’s information and thinking, piece of cake.

Then again, am I looking to search for a person who mysteriously disappeared, a potential abduction, the con artist on the run or the one who may have faked their death. I guess I am looking for an odyssey or a skip tracing pilgrimage. Something to feed the need, any ideas?

Frank M. Ahearn
www.FrankAhearn.com
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

Locating People for Law Firms & Finance Companies

I do a reasonable amount of skip tracing (locating people) for finance companies and global law firms. Recently I have been asking my clients what is their in-house skip tracing process.

1.    Send a letter by post to the subject.
2.    Call the phone number in the file.

If neither of these are successful, the client will use an online database. If the database report provides an updated address and phone number.

3.    Send another letter.
4.    Call the new number.

I am against using databases in the skip tracing process. Much of it is regurgitated and not necessarily accurate. The other issue is that just because a database shows a subject living on 10 Main Street, it does not mean the subject is currently located at 10 Main Street. Databases are based on past information so there is no verification of the here and now. Even if the utilities, cable or phone number is registered to your subject.

Let me point out that some of the larger companies do not call the phone numbers on file and relied more on postal communications. This is a short sighted way of skip tracing, since some individuals move and do not forward their mail but much of the time do keep the same phone number. Also, sending a postal letter is a passive way of locating people, this would include a registered letter as well. A letter sent only proves a letter was sent, it does not reveal if a person is or is not at an address.

The first rule in skip tracing is to call Directory Assistance from a mobile or landline phone. Sometimes directory Assistance is more current and you may get a hit on the subject. You would be surprised at how many people I have located in a matter of minutes by making the Directory Assistance call.

Remember, if you do get a hit via Directory you need to verify it is your subject and your subject is currently at that address provided. A simple pretext can answer that question. “Hi, this is Max from ABC Shipping, we have a water damaged package for Mr. Jones, J.O.N.E.Z.” I misspell the subjects last name and if I have the right person, he or she usually corrects me. I always ask for the zip code, the building number and then the street name. Sometimes the subject will get paranoid and halfway through the pretext stop providing information. if I have the zip code, I now know what city. If I have the zip code and building number, I can easily locate the street name.

So, before you go on the hunt, try the Directory Assistance call, you might get a hit.

Frank M. Ahearn
www.Disappear.Info

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

Free Kindle Download: The Little Black Book Of Skip Tracing: Creating Pretext, Mastering Social Engineering And Finding Anyone Anywhere

This free kindle download expired, you can now download: The Digital Hit Man for Free.

Free Kindle Download: The Little Black Book Of Skip Tracing: Creating Pretext, Mastering Social Engineering And Finding Anyone

Most of the pretext and social engineering tactics in this book are illegal. In non-technical language, that means do not try this stuff at home, from work, on Skype, with a prepaid cell phone or through a psychic medium. If you are caught, utilizing these tactics some bad mojo will happen. That is my disclaimer.

Excerpt from The Little Black Book Of Skip Tracing:

I mentioned that another way to pretext a subject of a landline is to do so as a telephone repair employee.

“Hi, this is Joe Momma from Dingle Falls Telephone Repair. I am working on the phone lines and your phone service might be disconnected for about five minutes. Fear not it will be immediately repaired.”

Some people are cool about it and others are huge dicks rambling off they need their phone service. Yea, yeah, yeah! I wait a few minutes and dial them back and when they answer, I hold down the pound button as it cranks out that unpleasant sound in their ear. I do this a few times, depending how much of a schmuck the subject was during the pretext call.

After about five minutes, I call the subject back and explain all is fixed and there will be no interruption of service. Before I hang up, I hit them with the second part of the pretext.

“I need you to confirm your building number and zip code.” And “Please spell the name correctly.”

Note, I do not ask what the building number is but confirm the building number. By saying, confirm it automatically implies that I have the information. Most people fall for the pretext but there is always one unpleasant crayon in the box.

“You work for the phone company, you should know my address”

If someone were being a dick about confirming the information, I would ease out of the call and tell them no problem. From the multiple prepaid cell phones, I call the subject back using different voices and requesting various styles of pizza. The subject would soon realize that their phone number is crossed with the local pizza shop.

I call the pain in the ass subject back and act as if I am calling the pizza shop to confirm all is well with their services. The subject usually blew their stack and blasted me for screwing up their phone line. This was a good thing.

“Sorry but I am showing this line belonging to Pizza Haven. You will need to dial 611 and report the issue.”

This totally infuriated the subject.

“You are repair, you broke it now fix it.”

My response was polite.

“I would if I could but I can’t. I show the number 867.5309 belonging to Pizza Haven on Broadway.”

Then came the roar!

“No you moron my name is Kurt Duesterdick and my address is 1313 Webfoot Walk, Duckburg, Calisota.

“My apologies, I will repair immediately.”

Pretext is like a prompt system, you need to create the right buttons to push.

Frank M. Ahearn

www.FrankAhearn.com

This free kindle download expired, you can now download: The Digital Hit Man for Free.

Pre-Privacy

When I think about privacy I do not limit my scope to the end game of something which protects. I believe the process of creating privacy should be equally secure as the act of privacy itself. What this means is many individuals and organizations think about creating privacy but do not think about the pre-privacy process. Meaning, how secure is the journey and execution? Imagine going through all the motions of creating privacy only to discover that your past actions created a hole.

In addition, and equally important, many view privacy, from solely a digital point of view and this is a dire mistake. Privacy and security must also be dealt with from a non—digital/non-technological point of view as well. Just as technology can hack, humans can pretext, therefore each are an equal danger to the integrity of your security.

What I do is work with clients before and after they cross the privacy bridge. My job is to confirm that the bridge is sound, the path is clear and all secure on the other side. Or if you are over the bridge, I search to backwards for potential vulnerabilities left in the path. My expertise as a skip tracer, social engineer and privacy expert provides a unique perspective in privacy, one which engineers and technology cannot foresee.

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

Offshore Banking Privacy Protocols

There are dozens of companies providing what they call the ultimate privacy protection. Sounds pretty cool, no? They do this by setting you up in an offshore corporation and bank account, the ultimate protection. Unfortunately, there is a flaw in the process.

The issue is many offshore companies draw you into their website and offer their services. The problem is if you visited the website from a computer or IP address associated with your identity you created a massive footprint. A skip tracer hunting your assets could easily obtain your IP address and locate which countries you searched, for the purposes of hiding or protecting your money.

Maybe the offshore process needs to go a bit deeper into the privacy aspect. Perhaps there should be protocols of how one can open an offshore corporation or bank account and do so without leaving a digital footprint.

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