Friday, July 31

How to Disappear

Frank Ahearn helps people disappear. For 20 years, he had worked as a "skip tracer," a private investigator who specialises in finding people. He later realized that he could reverse his strategies and instead of finding people, he could make them vanish without a trace.

Ahearn outlines three key steps to a successful disappearance:
First, destroy old information about yourself. Call your video store or electricity company and replace your old, correct phone number with a new, invented one. Introduce spelling mistakes into your utility bills. Create a PO Box for your mail. Don’t use your credit cards and the like. Then, create bogus information to fool private investigators who might be looking for you. Go to one city and apply for an apartment. Rent a car in another one.

The next, final step is the most important one. Move from point A to point B. Create a dummy company to pay your bills. Only use prepaid mobile phones and change them every month. It is nearly impossible to find out where you are unless you make a mistake.
The rules are easier to follow if you are self-employed, but harder if you're on a payroll, like if you're a bus driver or teacher. (Drats.) Over the years, Ahearn's clientele included witnesses to a crime, women who are stalked (for this, he works free of charge), and a lot of men in their forties or fifties who want to be free of their responsibilities and start over somewhere, as an entirely new person. Ahearn explains that "There is something romantic about the idea of starting a new life and walking away into the sunset, but for most people it’s just a daydream." Of the ten people who inquire about his services, only one will seriously pursue it. And like a doctor, Ahearn cannot get attached to any of his clients. Very few them will afford Ahearn with updates of their new lives. He gets the occasional e-mail though, and always a different e-mail each time. They have learned their lessons well.

No comments: