Nobody can completely disappear legally, there is always going to be a small paper trail. However, with great difficulty, you can become hidden from civilians. So, if you want to divorce yourself from the social setting you are in, it can be done legally. Now, if you want to remain hidden from governments, that won’t be a possibility for you. Furthermore, if you wish to not be located by a certain government, you are going to need to live a reputable lifestyle that makes them disinterested in you.
The issues that prevent you from legally disappearing completely will be things such as taxes, banking, and licenses. These will always be a legal necessity for normal life. However, this paper trail will not be to much of an issue to remain hidden from your network of associates. There is a near endless list of evasion methods to help you remain hidden so we’ll focus on a few basics,
How to Disappear Legally Summary
Change your name
Move to a new location
Use a PO box for mail
Stop using social media
Do not use social media via an alias
Commit permanently to a different clothing style
Lose or gain weight
Have a lot of money
Be okay with not owning assets
This will be the foundation of your new life. Thankfully, it's the easiest and most effective step. A legal name change is a necessity for the issues we discussed above. You are going to need a new name to obtain legal employment and to set up legal banking to get paid from your new job. That new name will also be used on the lease/ documentation to your new residence. However, your old name will always be attached to your new name through government documentation. This is why we stress the point that disappearing completely cannot be done legally, despite what many people will tell you. Going by a different name outside a legal name change is criminal fraud.
This is also a reasonably easy step. To avoid interactions with your old social network you will need to move, preferably to a new city.
Use a PO Box
Direct all your incoming mail to a PO box that is a fair distance to where your new residence is located. Many government jurisdiction do not allow you to use a PO box as a listed residence, so don't do this if it's not allowed. If your government allows you to use a PO box as an official address, then you are at a huge advantage. With a PO box as your address, you will be as close as possible to disappearing completely, legally. Furthermore, you can get a lot of your mail digitally, so you don't need to frequent the post office as often and get spotted.
Stop Social Media
Unfortunately, this is hard for most people. However, this is the method most civilians use to locate people. So, to remain hidden you'll need to quite social media.
Do not use a Social Media Alias
You might be tempted to use social media and figure you can get away with it via a fake name. However, this is a bad idea. People will still be able to track you down via your known social media patterns. Furthermore, you defiantly cannot be connected to your old social network thru a fake name. You'll be easily discovered by the process of elimination. Meaning, all a person looking for you has to do is view connections to your old group and look for names they do not recognize.
Commit to a Different Style
This is a difficult task for most people. Many don't want to admit it, but they are passionate about their casual style. Chances are, you are as well. So, if you are a fan of gym clothes or streetwear, you'll need to give it up and dress up a step or two. This is important regardless of you moving to a new location. Wherever you are in the world, you won't be far from your old network. Think about all the times you've recognized people you knew in strange locations.
Lose or Gain Weight
Changing your weight will greatly change you facial appearance. Most people are overweight, so losing weight will probably be the route you'll go. Get down to a healthy weight and your appearance will change.
Have Financial Resources
This is of course a very difficult task. But if you are fortunate enough to have financial freedom, you can use it to help keep yourself hidden. Having enough money means you don't need a job and the paper trail that goes with it. You'll also be able to forgo a driver's license in favor of ride services. These are just two examples of the many ways money can hide you better.
Do not Own Stuff
Assets have a public paper trail. Things such as mortgages, loans and, car payment plans are available publicly.
You can now see the difficulty that is associated with disappearing. This is why having the willpower to commit to this lifestyle is the last and most important step discussed. Chances are that most people do not have the energy to live this lifestyle. Furthermore, you and everyone else reading this article will probably not be comfortable living this life. Living off the grid is hard, hopefully you will not have to.
About the Author
Peter is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 14 years as a Professional Investigator, including investigating multiple missing persons. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting investigations and security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous investigative & security training programs in various capacities.