Skip Tracing

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.

ONE SHOT DEAL

ONLY ONE CHANCE TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION 

KICK-BACK

WHEN THE PRETEXT BLOWS UP IN YOUR FACE

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

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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.

BEFORE YOU GO LIST 

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
www.Ahearn.ch
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
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

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