On my blog last week I posted how I located a person’s employment via Facebook. I guess Facebook did not like it; they closed my Facebook account. Not that ever used it for anything but hunting people.
Here I am doing a little skip tracing and trying to find out where a subject works. What looked to be a dead end turned out to be a score. The usual contact information and online searches were a big zip. I popped the subject’s phone number into Facebook, and their account came up. Unfortunately, the about page was blank. So, I sifted through the photos, and one photo brought the gold. The subject was reclining with a supersized soda and next to the food bag was the subject’s work ID. One call to the company and the employment confirmed. It pays to review the identifiers in your photo.
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
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.
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.
CHAPTER NINETEEN – How to Disappear from Big Brother
Mr. Double Identity is a key level executive at a Dubai financial company. One morning the CEO called him into the office and showed him a news article about a fraudster wanted in a Ponzi scheme. The criminal who masterminded the Ponzi scheme took Mr. Double Identity’s name and associated himself with the financial industry. Not long, after law enforcement arrived and questioned Mr. Double Identity but cleared him of any involvement. However, his name was far from in the clear.
A short time passed and more information about the Ponzi scheme spread online. In all the blog writing and second hand reporting, Mr. Double Identity and his company became more associated with the Ponzi scheme. This was a serious problem and clients begin to inquire.
Mr. Double Identity’s company decided to be proactive and hire a reputation management company to solve their issue and save the day. Unfortunately, most of the companies that work in the business of reputation do website suppression, which is useless.
What reputation companies do is build positive information and spread that content. The problem with this is when the suppression ends information shifts in all different directions. It is like trying to control the tide. Moreover, the negative information still exists be it on page three, seven or ten of a search engine. Therefore, people who search your name will find the dirt.
After a few months, Mr. Double Identity’s company came to realize that the website suppression failed. Clients were still inquiring about the Ponzi scheme connection.
Mr. Double Identity’s company contacted me and we set up a meeting to discuss possible solutions. I broke the problem down to a very basic level and explained that the Ponzi scheme criminal had no online associations other than that with Mr. Double Identity and his employer.
This took me to the thought process of why not create an online identity for Mr. Ponzi Scheme the criminal and lead internet searchers to his dirty laundry. The company thought it was an odd solution but agreed to trust me. The plan was to create content that differentiated Mr. Ponzi Scheme from Mr. Double Identity.
To clarify, when people searched Mr. Double Identities name in search engines, information about Mr. Double Identity and Mr. Ponzi Scheme appeared. From a searchers perspective both Mr. Double Identity and Mr. Ponzi Scheme appeared to be the same individual. If someone searched deeper, one would discover that Mr. Double Identity works for a Dubai financial company. In essence, all information ended with Mr. Double Identity and his employer.
What I did was give Mr. Ponzi Scheme his own online identity. I set up a Facebook page that gave him an international background. I showed him as being born in Helsinki, went to school in Italy and college in the UK. I gave a few early jobs at large international corporations. I made his Facebook page deep and set up many bogus friends and family connections. I also set up Facebook pages of fake victims who posted various information, which supported the information I posted.
I created various blogs from victims in various countries. One particular blog identified Mr. Ponzi Scheme’s Modus Operandi, which was that he used the identity of professionals in the financial sector. One blog I created posted an alleged photo of Mr. Ponzi Scheme and I made him a different nationality from Mr. Double Identity.
The ultimate goal was to give Mr. Ponzi Scheme his own a tangible online identity and to separate Mr. Double Identity from the crime. Now when someone searches Mr. Double Identity/Mr. Ponzi Scheme’s name online one would be able to differentiate victim from criminal.
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN – How to Disappear from Big Brother
As a Virtual Entity I attempt to create a Go Bag in most foreign cities I visit. For me freedom is always the focus and the endgame. To disappear you need two items, financial instruments and travel documents.
You may not have the opportunity to travel but that should not stop you from attempting to acquire your disappear instruments online. Instruments being prepaid debit cards, prepaid money cards, foreign currency, transfer accounts like and online merchant accounts that accept credit cards.
In the past, the most difficult part of setting up virtual tools in a foreign country was the language barrier. This is not really an issue anymore since the creation of online translation tools but let us not place too much stock in their clarity. I suggest utilizing a third party assistant for translation.
Although, the best asset in any foreign city is a local realtor, they know all. What I do is search online for an apartment or house for sale. I do not search for a ten million dollar penthouse but something in the one or two hundred thousand range. I contact a local realtor and explain I will be visiting the city and I am interested in viewing an apartment.
You do not pick the ten million dollar apartment because this will make you a big fish to the realtor. The realtor will want to know all about you and will search you online. With this said you create a cover story before contacting the realtor.
Prior to heading to a foreign city, I create my fake online identity that I travel under and use for communication purposes. The identities I build are all self-employed.
Never, ever, never, ever, ever build a website and profile yourself as a licensed individual like a lawyer, doctor, accountant or other type of licensed individual. This is illegal.
Having a cover website will satisfy the curiosity of the realtor. Remember to do this work use your Third Party Assistant or from a computer where your identity cannot be connected with. After you make a connection with a realtor, you will hit them up for a variety of information.
My first question to the realtor is if there are local message boards like Craigslist or Back Page where I can place an advertisement for an assistant for hire. Most realtors provide me with websites where I can place the ad and they usually refer someone for the position. I thank them for the help but I avoid using their referral. I prefer to keep all contacts separate.
I review the message boards the realtor provided. If the boards are not in English, I put them through a translator and slowly make my way around. If the language barrier is too difficult, I use my Third Party Assistant to create the ad for me.
Businessperson searching for an assistant for one or two days must be bilingual and have a good knowledge of the city.
The majority of people who contact me are college students. I explain that I am setting up a business and I need them to assist me as a guide and interpreter. Having a motivated college student never fails. Make sure they know the different neighborhoods and the public transportation.
The reason I suggest hiring an assistant is to get to know the city. Sometimes being in new places it can be difficult figuring how the city operates. When I arrive, I have my local assistant take me through the city and teach me how to use the bus, trains and other important information I should to know.
You never know you could be in your new city three weeks and find yourself discovered. Having full knowledge of the city can aid in a quick escape.
I open a mail drop and pay one year in advance. With the mail drop, you do not want to have a P.O. Box drop you want an address drop like 123 Main Street Suite 815. In one instance, I was unable to open a mail drop and my college assistant allowed me to use his home address until I was able to locate a suitable mail facility.
Prepaid Cell Phones
Every country I land in I buy several prepaid cell phones from multiple carriers and I top up the time. Just a note some countries have cracked down on pay as you go phones and you now need to provide ID to obtain a cell phone. This should not be a problem since you will NOT go into the store and purchase the cell phone. Remember, the identification and cameras in the store create the digital footprint. Find a soul in need of a few euros or have your assistant make the purchase.
To keep track of my cell phones I write the country name and cell number on masking tape and place on back of phone. Then I tape over with clear tape so the ink does not run. If you have, numerous cell phones consider shipping the phones so you are not going through checkpoints with twenty cell phones. You may be wondering why carry the phones when you can carry only the SIMS. Carrying twenty SIM cards could prompt a red flag too. Another option is to leave the prepaid cellphone in your mail drop.
When in a new country hit the streets and find a bank that will open a checking or savings account for you. Search online or call the bank ahead to find what documents you will need. Also, find out which branch has a person who speaks your language.
The trick is before you go on your bank account opening journey; locate an apartment for sale in the city. Again, do not print out a ten million dollar apartment but something in the one or two hundred thousand range that will not draw too much interest.
After you have located a branch that has a rep who can speak your language, have the real estate information printed out and available for their eyes.
Mention to the banker that you are renting an apartment locally but plan to buy an apartment. Show them the listing, photos and all. Explain the reason for visiting the bank is you need to know if they provide homeowners insurance. Do confirm there is such thing as homeowners insurance in the country.
Nine times, out of ten, the bank rep will change the direction of the conversation and ask where you will be banking. Explain you have yet to figure that out. They will suggest you use their bank and they will become extremely helpful with the account opening process. The real-estate listing motivates the banker and sometimes they will bend on the paperwork like proof of residence.
Another tactic is to find a bank that has foreclosures for sale on their website. Begin a relationship with someone in the foreclosure department. Make sure the conversation moves in the direction that you will be paying with cash. This tends to motivate people and they will suggest opening an account at their bank.
The downside to foreign banking is many banks do not mail account debit cards. They want you to pick it up at the branch. In addition, some banks use Electron Cards that have no three-digit security code on back of the card. This means you cannot use the card for online purchases because 99% of website payment systems require the three-digit code. You can only use an Electron Card in person. I have an Electron Card from one of my banks and it can be seriously inconvenient!
Also, check the fees for withdrawing at an ATM in foreign countries. I made the huge mistake of using a debit card and not reading about the fees in advance. I used the card four times in a week and it was thirty euros per withdrawal. Ouch!
When you open a bank account in a foreign land, make sure your funds are avaiable 24/7 via your ATM card. One bank account I had only allowed debits on the card up until ten pm their time.
I have also come across banks that only allow wire transfers during work hour as well as limits up to 600.00 per transfer. With such limits, you will spend a fortune transferring your funds. I speak from experience.
When you open a bank account, it is wise to have an account in your home currency and the currency of the country. Before you open your account, inquire about wiring funds out of the country. There could be currency restrictions. For example, if you have a foreign bank account in your home currency and want to wire transfer your home currency funds to your home country there could be a glitch. Some countries only allow outgoing wire transfers in their local currency. This could cost you a lot of money in currency exchange. Read the small print!
When I travel to a country that offers PayPal, I always open an account. I also try to get a local prepaid debit card to connect to the PayPal if possible. Note you do not need to be in the actual country to open a PayPal account for that country.
For the PayPal account, you will need an address. I do what I can to open a mail drop on the spot. If you are unable to open a mail drop, use a hotel address until you can secure a mail drop.
One of the reasons I have PayPal accounts in different countries is so I can use the Buy Now buttons on my website. This allows me to accept credit cards payments in various currencies parked in different countries. I look at the various PayPal accounts as a multiple currency savings accounts. Some days I accept Dollars, some days Euros, Swiss Francs, etc. One of the downsides to foreign PayPal accounts is PayPal does not offer their own debit card connected to the account. I have been able to link a prepaid debit card from country A to country B.
- DOUBLE IDENTITY
I find deception to be an amazing tool when utilized for the right reasons. I know it sounds odd. Most people would assume that deception is typically a negative act with dark intentions. When clients contact me they all have the same question, how can they delete the negative or untrue online information making their life miserable? They cannot!
Most people who contact me do not fully accept that the hands of others control their online information. This means deleting information can be near impossible and the only real strategy is deception.
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.
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!