Book Review - How to Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, and Vanish without a Trace by Frank M. Ahearn and Eileen C. Horan
While I have my doubts that one can disappear completely without "special assistance" (as in government help or an extreme amount of money), there *are* some ways to make it a lot more difficult to be found by non-government officials. Frank Ahearn and Eileen Horan cover a lot of that information in their book How to Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, and Vanish without a Trace. This is not a large encyclopedic manual on how to eliminate your existence; rather it's more a handbook on how to make it more difficult to be traced (and a lot more expensive for those determined to do so).
I'm Frank. Nice To Meet You; Meet Your Enemy - The Skip Tracer; A Skip Tracer's Best Friends; Time To Disappear; Misinformation; Tracks And Clues In The Home; Disinformation; Your Reformation Arsenal; Reformation; How Not To Disappear; Disappear From Identity Thieves; Disappear In Social Media; Disappear From A Frog; Disappear From A Stalker; Disappear From The Country; Pseudocide 101; Final Thoughts; Acknowledgments; Index
Ahearn was a professional skip tracer, a person paid to track people down. Using both legal and illegal methods, he was usually able to find whoever he was going after as they nearly always left a trail of some sort. In Disappear, he takes the other side of the equation and talks about what someone would need to do to make it more difficult and expensive to find them. While some of them are obvious (stop using social media, don't use your credit cards), others are more tricky and require some time and effort (and money) to put into place. For instance, in one case he had a person open a small checking account and the ATM card was given to a friend who traveled extensively. The friend made small charges in various cities, making it look like the person was moving around a great deal. He coupled that with a visit to a different city to look at apartments and have a credit check run. Any skip trace looking to find the person would have to pursue those leads, all of which would lead to dead ends. Yes, the skip trace may eventually pull the right thread at some point, but the costs to the person looking for you go up significantly.
If you take the information in this book for what it's worth, it's a good reference tool and a fun read. Thinking this is the equivalent of the Witness Protection Program "how-to" manual is a mistake, as it's not. And if the federal authorities are after you, there's little in here that will keep them at bay for very long. But if you're trying to disappear from the annoying ex or a crazy who has a beef with you, How To Disappear might be the key for keeping a step or two ahead of them.
Obtained From: Library