As far-fetched as this scenario sounds, it’s better to be prepared if it happens to you. With proper evasion skills, you can outsmart those pursuing you by having a well-thought plan and an exit strategy in case you come face-to-face with them. This is not a guide for evading the law after committing a crime. This merely is meant to help you to hide from dangerous people in a post-SHTF scenario.
One of the first things you must do to disappear is to leave town. It is better if you don’t stay in any one place for too long. In moving from one town to the next, you must be unpredictable in your choices so they won’t be able to anticipate your next move. Don’t go to places where you know someone or that have special meaning to you. If your pursuers know or can access info about you, they’ll find you.
Get a map
When moving to a new town, you must familiarize yourself with its roads and alleys. You must have an escape route in case you have to make a quick getaway. The same goes with entering establishments. Know where the entry and exit points, especially the emergency exits. You always need to prepare an escape plan if you don’t want to get caught.
Get rid of everything.
When trying to remove all traces of yourself, it is crucial that you get rid of all your belongings that can provide information about you. These include photographs, journals, IDs, etc. Anything with your picture on it can be distributed if found by your pursuers so they can locate you faster. Documents that provide private information about you can give them a clue as to your whereabouts.
Erase yourself off the Internet.
The internet contains very personal information that can be used against you. If you are going into hiding, you are going to have to make your virtual self disappear as well. Delete your accounts including the social media, web services, and retail sites. You will also need to take down all the photos, affiliations, and any information about you on the web.
Change your identity.
If you want to disappear completely, then you must get rid of the old you and get yourself a new identity. You’ll have to change your name, background, and all the pertinent details about yourself. It’s hard, but if you don’t want to get caught, you have to start with a clean slate.
Change your look.
If the opposition knows what you look like, then you better make some changes. You can dye your hair to a different color and change your hairstyle completely. Change your wardrobe to keep your new look from resembling your old self. In changing your look, blend in instead of standing out. Change your look when you go from one town to the next to make it harder for them to follow you.
Change your habits.
If you have a discernible walk or a certain fondness for Mexican food, you better get rid of them fast. Some people can be easily recognized by their movements and can be predictable if their habits follow a certain pattern. Part of getting a new identity is not only changing your appearance, but your personality as well. You must change your taste in food, clothes, and never follow a routine.
Always use cash.
Never use your credit card or ATM card in doing any transactions. The instant you use one, you are foolishly giving away your location as these cards can be traced. Lose the plastic and always pay with cash. And bring plenty of it.
Set out alone.
If you alone are in danger from other people, then you must go and disappear on your own. As painful as it sounds, you must not bring your family or loved ones with you. Taking them with you, not only endangers their safety, it will also be harder for you to start a new life and blend in with the rest of the crowd. Do not tell your family where you are going either.
Cut off communication with everyone.
In connection with hiding on your own, you must never visit or call your family to let them know you’re safe. By doing so, you’re putting them at risk once the opposing party finds out you’ve been in contact with them. They might resort to physical violence to obtain any information about you. For their safety, it is best to keep them in the dark.
Get rid of your clothes.
When leaving town and moving to a new one, dispose the clothes you are last seen in. When throwing them, it is best to cut them up and flush them down the toilet to avoid the risk of them finding your clothes. Don’t put anything that might attract attention to yourself. Go for nondescript clothes to make yourself invisible.
When you’re moving constantly, get rid of all the unnecessary baggage and carry only the essentials. This includes a change of clothes, sturdy shoes, food and water, a sleeping bag, and some cash. Try to limit items that can fit inside your trusty backpack. You can carry them easily if you need to make a quick escape.
When moving into a new town, do not attract attention to yourself by acting suspicious. If you act all anxious and become easily startled, people might know that something’s up and they’ll most likely remember you. Keep a low profile and do not do anything that might arouse suspicion.
There’s this other article on 50 ways to become a grey man that you may want to check.
Keep your mouth shut.
Being all alone can get lonely sometimes, but if you don’t want to leave a trail, then don’t forge relationships with new people. Keep interactions to a minimum and only when necessary. You’ll be protecting these people and yourself in the long run.
Fake your own death.
I know that this seems straight out of a movie, but if you’re really desperate to put an end to the chase, this is an option for WROL (without the rule of law) situations. This is going to take a lot of planning and cunning on your part to pull this off. Keep in mind though your family and friends will suffer. But this way, you will secure your protection and your family’s as well.
Ditch your car.
When fleeing, don’t use your own car under any circumstances. If they are able to get a hold of your personal information, such as your car license, they will be able to track you down no matter the distance you’ve put between you and the search party. Let the air out of one tire so that no one will suspect that you left your car intentionally. And leave it someplace that it will not easily be found.
Don’t use taxis.
If you don’t want to give away your next location, then don’t use taxi service. Taxi drivers and dispatchers usually have a record of their passenger’s pick-up and drop-off points. And more often than not, cab drivers have a good memory of their passengers. And if you seem troubled or rushed, they will be more likely to remember you when asked.
Buying another car.
In getting another car, find yourself a dealer selling second-hand cars. Never mind that they look beat-up as long as they are still in good running condition. These dealers will accept cash as payment and will not ask you to provide personal information in return. Do not leave a record of your purchase. Use a false name if you can get away with it.
Use a motorcycle.
You might want to consider using a motorcycle as a means of going around. It’s more mobile than your average car and will be a lot cheaper to buy. And when you find yourself in hot pursuit, you’ll be more likely to escape even with traffic and roadblocks in front of you.
Don’t stick to one vehicle.
If you are constantly on the move, it will be wise to change your car from time to time. If they are able to identify the car you are using, they will still be able to track you no matter how many times you’ve moved. You can get yourself a dealer that exchanges cars or sell it and use the money to buy another one.
Hide some emergency clothes and supplies
If somehow your whereabouts have been discovered and you are unable to get your belongings in your rush to escape, it is always a good idea to stash up on some emergency supplies somewhere. Choose a spot you can go to undetected where you can pick it up as you move on to your next town.
Don’t travel on holidays
Holidays are usually the busiest time of the year. During this time, police visibility is high, there are increased check points and random inspections in vehicles. You should wait it out until activity resumes to normal to avoid getting caught.
Use public transportation
If you don’t want to run the risk of getting pulled over, then travel by bus instead. Public vehicles are not usually checked by the police and are waved past at checkpoints. Do your best to blend in with the other passengers. Appear unconcerned with what is going on around you but remain on the alert.
Don’t run away from cops (if you do use your vehicle)
When a cop asks you to pull over, your first instinct may be to drive away. If you’ve watched a lot of cop chase videos, then you’ll know it can get turn fatal not only for you, but for other drivers on the road. And it is almost impossible escape in a vehicle once they’ve called for backup which may include a helicopter.
Listen to traffic reports
When traveling, always be tuned for for traffic reports to know which roads to take so to avoid getting caught on a traffic jam. Traffic reports can also warn you against road blocks and police activity. You need to anticipate problems on the road and work your way around them.
If you choose to live your days in the woods and away from civilization, then you should learn bushcraft skills for you to make it in the wild. When your supplies run out, these skills will keep from dying of hunger or thirst as well as help you in building your own shelter.
Don’t leave any traces of yourself.
If you want to disappear, then you better not leave any article of clothing, used dental floss, or strand of hair. It may sound extreme, but if you are hiding from powerful enemies, you definitely won’t want them to get anything with your DNA on it.
Don’t let anyone to get a hold of your DNA.
This means that putting saliva on your mail is out of the question. Keeping correspondence is a big no-no but if you must, then do it anonymously. If they somehow are able to intercept your letters, then finding your DNA or your fingerprints is the confirmation they will need. Remember to use gloves when handling paper.
As paranoid as it sounds, wiping every surface you come in contact with is a smart move. Make it a habit to wipe everything to make certain you leave no fingerprints behind. Rubbing alcohol wipes remove the natural oils in your fingerprints. Sounds laborious, but you should always be one step ahead of them. When checking out of a motel, always ask the management to have your room cleaned thoroughly.
Flush everything down the toilet.
When disposing anything, it is best to flush them down the drain than toss them in the trash. Simply throwing them away does not get rid of the evidence and carries the possibility of being found. If you are on a plane, hold on to your trash because anything that goes down the toilet goes to a holding tank. You can get rid of things once you land.
Keep yourself fit.
When bad luck hits you and you are spotted by your pursuers, you may have to flee on foot to escape them. You won’t outrun them if you don’t keep yourself in good shape. Exercise regularly and stick to a healthy diet as much as possible. To learn more about survival fitness, read Dan Sullivan’s course on the topic.
In going to the hospital for treatment, they will ask you to supply personal information and will obtain a DNA sample from you. For minor wounds and injuries, you should learn how to treat yourself on your own. As long as it’s not serious or life-threatening, avoid checking into a hospital.
Avoid being caught on camera.
Almost every establishment now has safety cameras installed. This means buying groceries or checking into a motel will leave a trail if you are caught on video. Pay attention to where the cameras are placed so whenever you enter a shop, you can prevent your face from being seen. Try to keep your head down and focus on spots where you know cameras are not mounted.
Get a menial job.
Unless you’re extremely rich, your savings will eventually run out. Like it or not, you will have to get yourself a job. This can be tricky if you want to hide your true identity. A good start would be to apply for a minimum wage job that pays cash does not require your home address and identification such as your Social Security number.
Working in diners or fast-food places
One of the places you should consider working at is a restaurant such as dishwashing. It takes hard work and the pay is low but it will be enough for food and rent. In some restaurants you don’t have to provide personal details and you can probably score some free meals or discounts.
Getting a new Social Security number.
Let me start by saying that fraudulence is a crime that you should be well aware of. But in building a new identity, you will be asked for your SS number to lease a house or a car as well as when applying for a job. Since you can’t use your real number, you will have to get a new one. It’s a big risk to take so think it through and if you do decide to get one, make it as foolproof as possible.
If you’re going to turn to stealing, it should be your last and only resort. Remember that you are trying to hide so committing theft further runs the risk of getting caught. When starving, you can check out the Soup Kitchen or other establishments that offers free food for the homeless. Be cautious and remember that, just because a global or national catastrophe has occurred, this doesn’t mean you can or should do anything!
Take advantage of grocery coupons available in magazines to stretch your grocery money. This will give you a discount on food purchases. A lot of people are big on coupons so using them shouldn’t arouse any suspicion and may actually help you blend in when shopping.
Satellites can locate you.
If you are hiding from powerful enemies, they might try to track you down using satellites. Satellites can pinpoint your location by tracking your mobile phone. So when making calls, opt for payphones or get yourself a disposable phone. However, don’t make calls if you can help it. Calls can still be traced no matter how short the conversation.
Living in the desert.
If you choose to hide in the desert, know that life will be difficult. You will have limited access to water, food, the roads, and not to mention will deal with the scorching heat. But if other people are able to survive in the desert, then so can you. People usually live in a mobile trailer with a desert-colored tarp to conceal it from any passing aircraft.
Here’s a great article on how to live in the desert.
Camp in the woods.
In setting up camp, choose a site that is secluded and can conceal you from both aerial and ground view. You should have reasonable access to water and game if your stocked supplies run out. This can be a good temporary living situation until you’ve settled on your next location. Map out alternate routes to get to and from your camp to water and other locations.
Seek higher ground.
One of the things your pursuers might expect you to do is to seek the high ground. It gives you a good vantage point of the grounds especially if your pursuers are in the vicinity. However, an elevated position also makes you an easy target especially for viewing by a helicopter. Consider the risks when going into hiding on the mountains and plan appropriate camouflage overhead.
Know when to stop running and hide.
When you have a helicopter hot on your tail, you will easily give yourself away if you are continuously in motion. Find a bush or tree for a safe spot to hide. Duck under a bridge or overpass if available. Mask body heat detection by burying yourself in mud or leaves. If they see you stop, instead of hiding, you will have to instead reverse direction or otherwise try to confuse your trail.
Don’t hide when you’re hurt.
If you get wounded or become weak in the course of running, “they” will expect you to hide until you’ve regained your strength. They will make a point to look for you in the bushes, trees, or in dark alleys. In this case, you will have to continue running until you can’t anymore. It is important to get as far away from them as possible especially if they know you’re vulnerable. Move again as soon as you are rested.
Get “them” off your trail.
If they are tracking you down, change your direction once in awhile to break the trail. This may consist of veering away from your path, climbing trees, crisscrossing a stream several times, use branches to erase your tracks, or walking backwards. Do anything that will confuse them and the dogs following your scent. Even if you don’t think you are being followed, it’s better to be on the safe side.
In the event that you are caught, you can buy yourself some time by using defensive strategies. They may also be combat-ready but if you are able to throw them down with a move or two, a few seconds may be all you need to make a quick escape. You have then been given another day to live.
Hiding from Dogs
If the opposition uses dogs to track you, confuse them by running in circle a few times and when near a body of water, run downstream. If you run upstream, your scent will be carried downstream, making it easier for them to spot you.
The odds of outrunning a dog are pretty slim. If you have knife with you, distract the dog with your “dumb” hand and drive the knife through the dog’s brain with your “smart” hand. If you don’t have a knife and are still determined to kill the dog, get hold of its neck with both hands and shake it until the neck snaps. Keep in mind the dangers of fighting off a dog, especially a vicious one.
If you are able to defeat the dog, leaving the body might offer your chasers clues as to your general location. If you can, take the body with you and dispose it later on. If you used the knife, leave it with the dog after wiping it clean. The blade might be used to identify you if you’re caught with it.
It is possible for people on the run to live their days safely despite the challenges it will undoubtedly require. All it takes is some planning, creativity, and foresight to pull this off. You need to be always one step ahead of your pursuers and this includes willingness to pack up and relocate if your current place becomes unfit or unsafe for living.
All of these techniques may seem daunting, but you never know what will happen when hell breaks loose. Hopefully, you won’t need to use them at all but at least you’ll know what to do if the situation arises. These are simply safety measures you can take if you find yourself in danger in an SHTF WROL situation and are not intended to encourage criminal activity.
With this in mind, can you think of other ways you can disappear completely? Comment in the section below.