In movies and TV shows, but also in real life, you hear about people deciding to go off the grid and staying under the radar. But how does one become invisible in today’s technologically ruled world?
Everything is interconnected these days, and companies know more about yourself than your own family members. Disappearing off the grid and staying under the radar takes time, and the most difficult step is distancing yourself from family and friends. You will have to do so until none of them would expect you to get in contact anytime soon. This is perhaps the most important step because it will decrease the chances of anyone coming to look for you.
🕵️ Can “they” find you?
In general, only certain agencies or entities in the various branches of our government have the technology and capabilities to find you. They are the only ones that have the tech to track any sort of electronic or technological signal you might be emitting.
Social media, at its core, has become a tracking tool with immense power that nobody can tell for sure how it is used. One thing is certain: everyone will be able to tell where you are or where you are calling from as long as you stay “connected.”
Staying under the radar requires you to pull the plug on all these devices, and if you want to disappear immediately, start by deleting your social media accounts and disconnect all the electronic devices that could give away your location. Remove the source of power or do a “master reset” (or factory reset) to remove any trace of your presence.
🌄 Where to go?
Some people will pick a remote location deep in the wilderness while some already have a bug out location designed to be as isolated as possible. However, you must keep in mind that if someone owns the property on which your bug out site is located, they could easily lead a pursuer to you.
Staying under the radar requires certain preparations if you don’t want to be found. The off-grid site you have picked can’t belong to you or be associated with your name. The same goes for any family member or close friends. These connections can lead any persistent pursuer to the area.
Recommended article: Bugging Out Without Leaving A Trail
A suggestion would be to relocate to remote state or federal forests and even protected land because such places will help you hide your presence in plain sight. However, if you pick this option, you will have to go as deep as possible and leave a low footprint. You should avoid making contact with anyone since doing so will lead others to you.
Since not everyone has the skills or are willing to live alone in the wilderness, you should look into other alternatives for staying under the radar. As I see it, the main and perhaps only viable alternative would be to do everything you can to disguise your appearance and identity and avoid any situation that may require you to use your real name.
If you decide to blend among others, you will have to buy things to keep going, so you will have to stick to using cash for your necessities, and sometimes, even relying on the old trading system for getting what you need.
For any contact you wish to make, may it be an emergency or not, make sure you use only prepaid cell phones, but keep in mind that even these can be tracked to the closest cell tower that made the connection with other devices. Some people may have an intermediary connection, someone that can be the link between you and others without him or her know your actual location.
✏️ A few tips for staying under the radar
If you want to become invisible, there are a few do’s and don’ts that you have to keep in mind, and there are also some items you should get rid of if you plan to stay off the grid.
🤐 Don’t advertise it
To do this properly, no one should know where you are going and how long you would be staying under the radar. No matter how much you trust them, nobody can keep a secret forever, especially if some sort of persuasion is used. Never tell anyone about your plan, unless the person in front of you will be joining you.
💵 Cash is king
Long before you put your plan in action, you should start withdrawing cash from your bank account until they are all empty. Do so slowly and gradually as to no raise any suspicions. Once you’ve got all your cash, close those accounts.
Understand that once you’ve done this, you will become a cash-only person, and there’s no going back. If you receive a pension or any other type of support, such resources won’t be available to you anymore. The amount of money you have can directly influence the amount of time you have for staying under the radar. Once the money is gone, you will have to figure out other ways to get what you need.
💳 Credit cards
If you use a credit card to buy something from a store or to withdraw money from an ATM, you will leave behind video evidence of your presence, but also an electronic footprint. The video evidence might not be important if you manage to change your appearance, even though eventually they will be able to put a face to the digital footprint.
The main problem is the electronic trace you are leaving behind, and anyone who might be looking for you will be able to draw a virtual map of the area in which you operated. Based on this, they could make all sorts of scenarios and trace your future routes.
Avoid using credit cards and use cash to get all the supplies you need. Spread the purchases every week or so, and buy from different stores. You can imagine that spending a few thousand dollars in a single store to get everything you need is a big red flag.
Another idea is to use cash and take advantage of flea markets and garage sales since you will avoid cameras, and no digital footprint will be left.
📷 Surveillance cameras
These are a pain in the behind, and nowadays, facial recognition technology is more present than ever, without us even knowing about it. With each ear, there are more and more locations (both public and private) guarded by surveillance cameras. It’s almost impossible moving from point A to B without becoming part of a recording. Your best bet would be to stick to routes where there are no such devices or at least where you will be less likely to encounter some.
However, if you go through areas that have such cameras, disguise your appearance so that it will be difficult for some to identify you. Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to distort your appearance since most people are wearing face masks to protect themselves from the COVID19 virus.
Your vehicle has certain hardware that offers anti-theft and emergency alert functions. It will emit a signal pinpointing the exact location of the vehicle. It also has the ability to let you talk with “assistance,” and such function can be used to listen to you without you even knowing it.
If you can disable such hardware, you might not have to leave your packed car behind. In case such an option is not available, you can get an older vehicle, a getaway vehicle that doesn’t have the tracking technology.
Regardless of the vehicle you pick for the journey, make sure it is in perfect running condition. Anything that might increase the chances of a traffic stop should be fixed. Also, make sure you have plenty of fuel to make as few stops as possible, and use back roads. If you go on the main roads, you might reach a toll plaza or an overpass, and such spots usually have cameras recording everything that happens. If you plan to stay under the radar, avoid having our license plate number recorded.
🚋 Using public transportation
If you plan to use buses, trains, or subways, you will have to pass more cameras to use such means of transportation. Not to mention that many vehicles have cameras installed to protect the public. If you are able to bypass the cameras, using public transportation provides the advantage of not leaving a trail, or at least your trail will be harder to follow.
📱 Smart devices
Smartphones, watches, and any other gear that has GPS technology incorporated can help others track your location with ease. All the smart capabilities we have in our devices are nothing more than tracking tools used for advertising and marketing purposes, but in case needed, they can also be used by someone who wants to zero in on your location.
🌐 The internet
If you plan to access the internet from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, it will let others know where you are. Your IP address will tell them your location, and while using a VPN service may help, that’s just a temporary solution. If you are online, you are visible even if it may take some time for others to “see” you.
👣 Disappearing and staying under the radar
If you are serious about becoming invisible and you are determined not to be found, you should first start by detailing an elaborate plan that outlines every single thing you have to do in order to change every aspect of your life and build a new identity. Once you figure this out, you have to gradually disconnect yourself from others and from the digital world. Block any service, system, and electronic gadgets or tools from leaving breadcrumbs.
You have the option to go deep into the wilderness, or you may very well blend among others, someplace not too crowded. Both scenarios require having a plethora of skills that would make you live comfortably and undetected.
The information we have provided in this article is a good start, but there are a lot more requirements for staying under the radar and staying invisible. Each situation is unique to each person, the environment they live in, and the skills they have. Hopefully, there will be nothing in your life that forces you to vanish and not to be found, but if something occurs and you have to pursue this path, the information we provided may help you achieve your goal.
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