How To Disappear Without A Trace: The Great Vanishing Act

By Will Brendza | Updated: 11/14/2023

How To Disappear CompletelyToday, I have something really important to share…

A Complete Guide On How To Vanish Without A Trace

Now, I’m NOT here to question the reasons why you want to disappear.

Everyone’s reasons are complicated, diverse, and personal.

Whatever your motivation (be it for good or evil) this guide will help you vanish.

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…     ↓(click to jump)
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Dispelling The 5 Most Dangerous Disappearing Myths…

Before diving into the specific detailed strategies, let’s dispels a few dangerous myths first:

1. The “Quick Vanish’ Disappearance Myth

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just one day decide to…’poof’ – vanish into thin air.

The truth is, to do it right involves meticulous planning, like:

  • Slowly distancing yourself from friends and family
  • Lying often and effectively
  • And withdrawing from your usual life activities

It’s a long game, not a magic trick​​.

2. The Financial Mirage Myth

Think you can disappear without a financial trace? Think again.

The reality is, you must strategically withdraw your money.

And convert it to cash or crypto.

This process takes time and is far from being a simple, unnoticeable act​​.

3. The Digital Ghost Myth

Deleting your social media accounts doesn’t erase your digital footprint.

Authorities can still access past data.

However, detaching from the digital world is a crucial step in masking your tracks​​.

4. The Furry Companion Myth

While it might ‘seem’ logical to take your beloved pet with you, they’re a liability.

Pets make you more recognizable and raise attention.

So they must be rehomed or taken to a shelter​​.

5. The Seamless Transition Myth

Quitting your job or requesting time off isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

It requires you to mislead your employer and neighbors.

Creating a believable story about going on a vacation or quitting.

All loose ends must be tied up to avoid early detection​​.

Disappearing IS A Big Deal

It’s an action you should NOT take lightly.

It scares people and raises attention among authorities.

In special cases (where your life is in danger) law enforcement can help you legally obtain a new identity.

However if you must take matters into your own hands, this guide is for you.

It’s a last desperate measure.

But if you are really getting ready for the Great Vanishing Act, I wish you Good Luck.

You’re going to need it.

Preparation Is Key

Disappearing takes time.

If you’re hoping to split town as soon as you are done reading, I’m sorry to disappoint.

There are several complex steps involved with disappearing.

And the more time spent preparing, the better your chances of success.

But, sometimes the choice to disappear is forced upon us in a rush.

So I’ve broken the following sections into two parts:

  1. The Long Game
  2. The Short Game
↓ How To Disappear – Former CIA Agent

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Long Road

1. The Long Game – Creating A Master Plan

Distance Yourself From Others

Start cutting ties to your old life…slowly.

This means seeing friends and family less often over time.

Continue this process slowly until you rare see each other at all.

That way, they won’t have any reason to expect to hear from you often.

This process requires you to lie.

Get used to it.

Making excuses and weaseling from family plans is child’s play.

This venture requires you to constantly fib, deflect, and mislead for the rest of your life.

Or at least until the lie becomes your new reality.

You’re NOT ready to disappear completely if you’re not prepared for THAT!

Start Withdrawing Your Money

Your days of Visa, PayPal, and Venmo are over.

You are a cash (or crypto-only) person now.

Get all your money out of the bank.

Become unbanked or convert everything to cryptocurrencies.

Do this slowly so you don’t raise any eyebrows.

Over several months, convert your fiat to cryptocurrencies.

Withdraw varying amounts of cash from all accounts under your name.

Do this until they’re completely drained.

When done, you should have:

And having zero money makes disappearing more challenging.

So if you’re truly broke, start saving.

You’ll want to save as much money as possible between now and vanishing day.

Kill Your Socials

Delete your social media accounts.

Now, they all have databases of your past information that authorities can obtain.

However, it’s still a smart way to start detaching yourself from the information grid.

So say goodbye to:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Tinder
  • Email accounts
  • And whatever apps the cool kids are using nowadays…

It’s wise to delete everything.

↓ Remove Your Personal Data From The Internet

Once again, do this SLOWLY.

Otherwise, people will notice.

Provide an excuse to your closest friends like:

  • “I’m addicted and need a break” or
  • “I just don’t have the energy to keep up.”

The excuse doesn’t even need to be good.

Just so long as you have one.

My favorite excuse is

  • “I’m just not interested anymore.”

Because there’s no rebuttal to THAT.

Side note: It’s also my go-to response to get rid of door to door sales folks.

Seriously, they don’t have a rebuttal for “lack of interest.”

Do You Have Any Pets?

Take them to a shelter.

Or allow a friend to adopt them under some other pretext.

Pets cannot come with you on your disappearing journey.

They will raise attention and make you more recognizable.

However much you love your animals, they’ve got to go.

And it’s more humane to put them up for adoption than it is to abandon them.

It’s one of the many harsh realities of the Great Vanishing Act.

But you must accept it.

Quit Your job Or Request Time Off

Before your big breakaway, you’ll need time for last-minute preparations.

You’ll also want a head start.

A few weeks before anybody begins questioning your absence.

If you don’t quit ahead of time, your current employer will be the first to notice.

So make certain your employer thinks you quit or you’re on a nice long, much-needed vacation.

Be As Thorough As Possible

Avoid having a lease on your residence.

Landlords come knocking when you miss a payment.

Or pay a couple of months in advance.

This will buy you the time you need.

Do this well ahead of time.

That way, they get used to you paying several months at a time.

Tell your neighbors you’ll be on vacation for a while.

Also give them a false lead as to where.

Tie up any and all loose ends you can think of…

Giving yourself more time to travel and escape before the search is on.

Measuring Ruler

The Short Game – Final Steps

Compile All Your Identifications

Get every:

  • school ID
  • driver’s license
  • birth certificate
  • social security card
  • and bank statement

Collect anything with your name (and your picture) all in one place.

There are different theories on WHAT to do with these documents:

  • Some sources say “keep them”.
  • Others say get “rid of them”.

Whatever you choose be thorough.

Don’t leave anything behind.

Whether you take them all or burn them in a bonfire: leave no trace behind.

Destroy Your Pictures & Avoid New Ones

It sounds drastic, but photos are your own worst enemy.

Family members may start door to door.

And they’ll use a recent photo of you.

One from the life you’re trying to flee.

So the older the photo they have, the better.

Avoiding getting your picture taken also sends a clear picture to authorities that you want to disappear.

That this was a conscious decision.

You weren’t murdered or kidnapped; you chose to vanish.

This may seem counterintuitive.

But trust me; it will work in your favor.

If the cops “think” you disappeared from some malicious incident or accident, they will search HARDER for you.

If they think you left on purpose, and went to great lengths to plan it, they won’t search as hard.

Cancel Your Mobile Phone Plan

It’s of no use to you now.

You are more like a fugitive than a social participant.

If you really need one, buy a cheap burner phone (like this one).

And get it under an assumed name.

Don’t hesitate to break it in two and ditch it.

Ditch Your Car

I’m sure you had some good times together.

But few things are as traceable and recognizable than your car.

Sell it for cash.

If it’s not worth much, leave it running, unlocked, in a bad part of town.

Put the deed in the glove box, and let some thief do the work for you.

Once your old car is gone; buy a used one with cash.

This car shouldn’t be flashy or unique.

Find something:

  • neutral color
  • a few years old
  • a extremely popular model
  • without easily recognizable dings and dents

You want it to be boring but reliable.

PowerTech 8k Vehicle Jumper

Speaking of reliable…

The last thing you can afford is a dead battery.

Get a a portable jump starter.

It’ll prevent getting stuck on the side of the road.

Just toss something like a Powertech 8k in your bug-out bag.

You can thank me later…

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More Tips & Tricks On Disappearing

In the book, “How To Disappear Completely and Never Be Found” Doug Richmond, suggests the following…

Search for babies who died the day you were born and contact the government requesting their birth certificate.

He emphasizes that this is normal because people always lose birth certificates.

Now use that document to acquire a social security number, driver’s license, and other personal documentation.

With that, move to a busy city, rent a small apartment, and spend several months developing a short employment history.

Mainly with temp jobs or construction gigs.

Then once that is established, walk out the door and never return.

He calls this Pseudocide, or faking your own death.

↓ How To Fake Your Own Death

Remember: Government controls are on the rise.

Electronic surveillance is everywhere.

Privacy is nearly impossible.

↓ America’s Surveillance State: The Surveillance Machine


This book was written in 1995 and a lot has changed.

Requesting personal documentation under a false identity is highly illegal.

This behavior will have immense repercussions today, should you get caught.

Instead of disappearing, special forces might blast through your window late some night, bag you, tag you, and ship you off to Guantanamo.

That’s called disappearing on THEIR terms.

Not good!

 Jump Over River

Getting The Hell Out Of Dodge

You thought preparation was complicated?

Go-time is when things get really wild.

First, to do this right, you need a bug-out bag.

Limit what’s in your “go-bag” to the bare necessities.

Items such as:

This post is a checklist of 104 go items.

Read it carefully, and decide what to take and what to leave.

Bug Out Bag Checklist eBook Cover - a man walking away wearing a military style backpack

Want a free 104 item bug out bag checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

Changing Your Appearance

As much as you treasure that favorite t-shirt and jeans combo, ditch them.

Go to a cheap clothing store and buy several outfits you’d NEVER wear.

Dye your hair, but don’t pick a crazy color.

If you’re a natural blonde, go brunette, and vice versa.

Wear a new hat.

Hats are great for concealing faces.

Fedora Hat

Fedora Hat

Choose a hat that you’d never be caught wearing in your old life,

Maybe for you, that’s a Fedora.

Also, practice using new mannerisms.

Try to avoid your old mannerisms as best you can.

  • Bite your nails, STOP.
  • Crack your knuckles, STOP.

You need to make yourself a stranger to yourself.

But don’t make yourself strange.

Blend into a crowd and mask your identity.

This means you can’t stick out or be remembered.

Be the background.

Stick to the shadows.

Act boringly normal.

Travel On Your Own Terms

Cover distances on foot or by bicycle.

These transport forms are NOT as easily tracked.

And don’t require licenses or IDs.

Public transportation (i.e., buses, trains, subways, etc.) are ok IF that’s necessary.

But remember, many of these are under constant video surveillance.

And under no circumstances take a cab or hitchhike.

When you get into a car with someone, you put your entire situation in their hands.

They may recognize you and contact the authorities.

Or crash the car and get the police involved.

Travel on your own terms.

Never let someone else manage your great vanishing act.

↓ How to travel the world with almost no money


The further, the safer, the more isolated, the better.

Head for the border or get way out of town.

If you are in the US, your best bet is the South.

And I’m not talking Mexico.

While it may be a developing country, and it may even be “easy” to get to without an ID.

Mexico is a lousy safe haven and is currently rather tumultuous.

Keep moving.

Go to Central or South America.

There are plenty of ideal towns, cities, and villages down there.

If crossing the border is out of the question, travel as far as possible

Many isolated or busy locations do not require a passport.

Just be warned:

I’s usually easier to find someone on the run if they haven’t left their home country.

But whether you flee the country or hide amongst us, you must go unexpected.

If you’ve always dreamed of visiting Jamaica, DO NOT hide there.

If your family is from South Africa, it’s off-limits.

Find someplace unpredictable.

It doesn’t have to be a place you’ll be unhappy or uncomfortable.

It just has to be a place you’ve never spoken to anyone about before.

Lay Some False Leads

Place clues like road atlas maps or do extensive internet research in the completely wrong direction.

If your destination is Nome, Alaska, leave books, maps, and research for Los Buzos, Panama, all over your house.

False leads buys time.

Another decision is:

  • Big busy city or
  • Tiny isolated town

There isn’t really an in-between option here.

The easiest place to disappear completely is either:

  • In the midst of a throng or
  • The emptiness of the natural world

Rent a small studio under an assumed name in a city of hundreds of thousands.

Or vanish into the woods and build a house on the outskirts.

Maybe you even go full Jeremiah Johnson.

Living off the fat of the land in the heart of the wilderness.

Whatever you decide, remember:

This may be your new home for a while, so choose wisely.

Man Standing At Cave Entrance

The New You & Your New Life

Disappearing is more than just running away and covering your tracks.

If you want to disappear forever and never be found, your character, your mannerisms, your likes and dislikes ALL DISAPPEAR.

This is the most difficult and important step of the process.

Become an actor.

Your identity must change to its core.

Create A Character

Learn to answer all the following questions naturally:

  • Where did you come from?
  • What did you do before?
  • Where is your family?
  • What kind of food do you like?
  • What is your favorite beverage?
  • Who’s your favorite author?
  • What is your favorite musician?
  • Favorite food?

Recreate everything!

Of course, making new friends will eventually be necessary.

No matter where you end up, neighbors and locals will become a part of your life.

And it isn’t wrong to make friends.

Just make sure to do so under your assumed identity.

Hell, having people who can confirm your name and backstory is helpful.

Especially should authorities come snooping into your new location.

Don’t be afraid to meet people,

Be afraid of revealing your true identity.

Never Get Comfortable

Don’t do it!

Stay on your guard at all times.

Paranoia can be both a curse and a tool.

Watch yourself, and do everything you can to avoid old habits.

Never Contact People From Your Past

I guarantee the urge will grip you at some point.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES are you to visit, call, write, email, IM, or otherwise contact your family or friends to let them know you’re okay.

They are not part of your life anymore.

Any form of contact is a step towards discovery.

Avoid the Lure Of Success

I understand the appetite for success.

Some people cannot stifle this hunger.

To be better, have more, and be recognized.

It is something that man cannot bury completely.

Whatever your draw, people are driven toward success.

And avoiding it completely isn’t entirely necessary.

You can still be successful in your life on the run.

Your new identity can still find prosperity and recognition.

Just not for the same talents or reasons you may have in your current life.

Find new hobbies, interests, and skills you never knew you had, and exploit those.

Stay under the radar but don’t be confined by your exile.

Moving Is OKAY

Moving is encouraged after a while.

If you can, change your name for the first few moves.

This should become easier in less developed countries.

But travel by nickname if it’s an issue.

Make following your trail as confusing as possible.

Are we looking for Juan? Or John? Or Peter?

The more you move, the harder it is to find you.

Above all:

Stay safe, stay alert, and stay disappeared.

Next Steps

I’ll reiterate:

Disappearing is a HUGE deal.

It has repercussions that reach beyond your own life.

Someone will eventually notice no matter how detached you may feel.

Once they do, it’s a countdown to a pursuit.

The better prepared you are, the more you’ve studied, the more time you will have to complete the Great Vanishing Act.

Good luck, friend.

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