Off Grid: How To Disappear Without A Trace And Adopt A New Identity

There may be many reasons why you’re looking to disappear and adopt a new identity. You’ve probably thought long and hard about the decision, but it’s a massive life change and one that  can’t be approached cautiously enough. 

Whether you’re on the run from danger, a survivalist keen to live off grid or you simply want to start a new life, we will help you learn how to vanish from records as much as legally possible without a trace. 

We understand that many survivalists feel that the government knows too much and intrudes too deeply in the everyday life of citizens. We have researched each and every step that you’ll need to take to disappear without a trace and to start anew. 

Why Would Someone Want to Disappear Completely?

There are a number of people who may want to take the life choice to disappear completely. The reasons can vary between each person, and are likely to be specific to each person’s individual circumstances. 

Here are some of the reasons why different groups of people may want to disappear completely: 


Many survivalists believe that the American government has become too intrusive. Survivalists often feel that their right to privacy is violated on a daily basis with constant surveillance from cameras in public spaces, data tracking and the constant information stream that is shared back to major institutions. 

It is this constant monitoring of their everyday activities that can cause some survivalists to decide to make the step to live completely off grid. To accomplish this, they must first disappear completely and vanish from society. 

Although it is not illegal to disappear completely, remember that the government have experience and resources to track people down so you’ll want to ensure you do everything properly to avoid getting into any trouble. 

Escaping danger

You may feel endangered by a threat such as a criminal gang or a stalker. In these situations, many people feel that they have no option left to them but to disappear. 

It’s important to weigh up whether you genuinely want to start afresh with a new life or a new identity, or if you feel as if you don’t have any other choice. Noone should feel that disappearing is the only option and there are many organizations and hotlines who can help. 

Some useful contacts that you can discuss your situation with in confidence include: 

  • Police: call 911 if you are concerned for your safety or that of your loved ones following a threat from a criminal or stalker. 
  • National Center for Victims of Crime:1-855-4-VICTIM
  • Victim Connect: 1-855-484-2846

In many cases the police may help you to create a new life and a new identity if they are aware that you are escaping a dangerous situation. Always consult their help if you are fleeing a criminal gang, abuse and death threats or severe abuse. 

Sometimes the police and other organizations may be able to help you relocate to a new home, or have restraining orders put in against your abuser to negate the need for you to vanish entirely. 

Victims of Abuse

If you are a victim of abuse, you may feel that you have to disappear completely to save your life. If the abuse is physical, you should make every attempt to build up a credible case before you vanish in order to justify your disappearance. This should include documentation such as medical reports of injuries and reports of any instances of domestic violence. 

For victims of abuse, disappearing without a trace may be a last resort and something that you are only doing reluctantly. If you need help escaping your situation via a different route, there are numerous charities and helplines available to you.

You should always call 911 if you or your children are in immediate danger. The police are fully trained to deal with all types of abuse and the help you receive may stop you from needing to disappear from society. 

Before you go ahead with starting an entirely new life, why not get in touch with some of the following organizations who may be able to offer help: 

How to Disappear Without A Trace

The Set Up

In order to disappear without a trace, you need to plan meticulously. You won’t be able to wind up your life overnight so you need to start planning months or years in advance in order to disappear without any trail left behind. 

If you are sure that disappearing is the right decision for you, start to think about where you will go. 

You’ll need to consider different factors when deciding where to go. In a small town, there will be a lot more awareness of your arrival, but in large cities, there’s a lot more surveillance. Head to a place where you have no connections, so no one will recognize you. 

Once you know where you’re going, you need to start the process of wrapping up your old life and planning for your new one. 

Change your name 

It’s fairly easy to change your name but if you want to take this step, you’ll need to be organized. It can take 3-4 weeks to make your new identity official so plan ahead and you’ll be fully prepared for when you need it most. 

Even if your name is legally changed you won’t want to share it widely. You only want to give your proper new identity out when it’s absolutely essential. The rest of the time you should use a nickname wherever possible and simply avoid giving a name at all if you’re able to. 

Possessions to Get Rid Of

Every item that you own needs to go. Unfortunately there’s no space to be sentimental if you genuinely want to never be found again. 

For homeowners, you should think about selling your home as soon as possible. As well as quickly getting rid of unwanted roots, this will also mean that you won’t have to worry about mortgage payments and monthly bills linked to your name. 

If you own a car, you’ll want to abandon it – ideally somewhere that it’ll be quickly noticed and stolen. You can even leave the keys in the car to make it more appealing. You don’t want to leave it somewhere where it will stay for weeks as this will raise suspicions from the police. 

You won’t need any of your old clothes as it’s important to start your new life with an entirely different wardrobe. 

You may decide to donate your old clothes and shoes to the goodwill store but always make sure that you do this in an area away from where you live and that you don’t give your name or identity when you do so. 

Don’t be tempted to keep small possessions such as jewelry and charms. Even the smallest clue could allow people to track you down and trace you back to your old life. 

Cancel subscriptions and deliveries 

Think about everything you have arriving at your home on a weekly or monthly basis. From magazine subscriptions to any delivery boxes or regular orders you are signed up to. 

Try to cancel these gradually to avoid raising any suspicions. If you are required to give a reason for why you want to cancel, try to give a common answer such as “switching to another alternative”. This may help to throw anyone tracing you off track. 

Managing your Money

Many people decide to disappear without a trace if they are facing financial difficulties such as debt. Unfortunately this isn’t usually the answer to your problems – especially as banks have specialized teams of investigators and law enforcers who will track you down. 

Running away from debt and financial problems could simply lead you into more trouble and could seriously threaten your attempts to start a new life. 

To have the best chance at a successful start to your new life, make sure that all your finances are in excellent order. Paying off your credit card as well as any outstanding bills or loans is an essential step to take. 

Try to stop using banks entirely a few months before you disappear. Gradually decrease your activity with them before ending it completely. This is likely to mean that you’ll need to switch to using cash only. Do not use ATM machines or pay with a card in any location – this will immediately allow you to be traced.

Digital Footprint 

Your digital footprint is the footprint of data that you have created during your time online. It will probably surprise you just how much information is contained in your digital footprint and you’ll be amazed at how much of what you’ve searched for or written has been recorded online. 

Some examples of the data in your digital footprint includes: 

  • Emails you have sent, received and forwarded
  • All websites you have visited 
  • Personal data that you have entered when signing up for services such as Netflix or Spotify

Make sure you delete all your email accounts including personal and work addresses. You will want to make it impossible for anyone to track you down by hacking into active email addresses or finding information about you via an open account. 

Social Media

Your social media presence is one of the most important things to erase when it comes to your digital footprint. You need to not only delete but also deactivate all your accounts immediately. 

Whether you shared personal details on your accounts or not, your digital footprint can not be erased if you still have social media accounts open. 

Make sure you follow the full deactivation process when it comes to shutting down your social media accounts. You’ll need to look in the Privacy and Security settings. Make sure you have deleted all photos of you and your old life as well as any tagged locations which could allow people to trace you.

Extra Data Precautions

Make sure that you opt out of any data collection websites. Big companies such as Google will accept requests to erase your personal data from their databases and remove you from their listings. Make use of these services and be sure to be untraceable when you disappear from society. 

Leaving Your Old Life Behind

There will be lots of different elements to leaving your old life behind. From shutting down your bank account and selling your home, to walking away from your family, it’s all part of the process you’re about to undertake. 

Try to remain as calm as possible. You don’t want to raise any suspicions from your family or loved one so it’s important that you behave as normally as possible in the lead up to your disappearance. Don’t suddenly become sentimental or hold conversations you wouldn’t usually have. 


There’s no right time to leave your job prior to disappearing without a trace. You can decide to leave a few weeks or months between leaving your position and vanishing, or you can simply walk away and not return. 

If you do decide to quit in advance, make sure you have the answers ready to any questions you may get asked. Have a story lined up about why you’re quitting and what you’re planning to do next. 

How you should approach leaving your job depends on your personal circumstances and the job that you do. It will also depend on your relationship with your employer and your colleagues. 


Your disappearance will have a huge impact on the life of your family members and loved ones, especially when they are unprepared for it. 

You need to be certain that this is the right decision for you and you must be mentally prepared for the difficult step of simply walking away without saying goodbye. 

Do not be tempted to share your secret with any family member or loved one, however close. This will immediately undo all the other work you have done in preparing to vanish from society. 

Try wherever possible to act entirely normally – attend family gatherings, have standard conversations and ask about their day to day lives. You do not want to raise any suspicions or make them think you are acting strangely. 

It’s inevitable that you will want to know that your family members will be OK after your disappearance but you need to avoid setting up funds for them or checking in at any point. This will risk your entire new identity and make you immediately more traceable. 

In some cases, keeping your loved ones in the dark about your plans is actually the best thing you can do to keep them safe. If they don’t know anything, they can’t inform anyone who may be after you. 

Many criminal gangs can use family and loved ones as leverage when tracking people they are after. Keep your family out of the picture and you’re doing the kindest thing possible. 


Just like with your family, this is likely to be a hard part of your life to leave. Unfortunately, you will need to cut all ties. 

A pet will make you immediately recognisable and will draw attention to you wherever you go. Having an animal with you almost always invites conversation from strangers so it simply adds another level of danger. 

If you’re setting up a new life, it’s unlikely you’ll have the resources to care for your pet so leave them behind with enough food and water to survive. 

New Identity

You need to become an entirely new person – not just an updated version of yourself. 

Try to work on every element of your identity – from the clothes you wear and the bag you carry, to the way you speak and your mannerisms. 

With every decision you make about your new identity, choose the opposite of your old identity. 

Here are some of the ways you can ensure your new identity really does mean a new you: 

  • Switch up your entire wardrobe
  • Change your accent 
  • Change the way you speak and the way you laugh
  • Dye your hair a different color
  • Change your weight – either gain or lose it

You should also think about taking up new hobbies and gradually joining interest groups of entirely different areas than you’ve previously been involved with. 

Legal Issues

It’s essential that you do everything legally when it comes to disappearing without a trace and adopting your new identity. 

You do not want to become a fugitive. In fact if you are running away from issues such as debt or criminal charges, you will end up going to jail for longer if you are caught. 

Make sure that you disappear legally. There is no law in the USA which prevents you from disappearing from your life – as long as it is not the a result of being associated with a criminal act. 

With extremely high levels of planning and a strong mental state, you can expect to start a new life successfully. 


People go start a new life in America every day. If you’re looking to escape your life and adopt a new identity, the good news is that it’s possible to do and you can make it happen. 

You need to plan carefully to have a successful disappearance. This guide gives you the knowledge you need to disappear without a trace. 

We’ve covered the key information to help you on your journey; from knowing the steps you need to take to remove your digital footprint, to understanding the legalities of disappearing and how to handle friends and loved ones. 

We wish you good luck.

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