By Lori L. Robinett
First of two parts
Hunted, a current TV show, takes regular people and sends them on the run, hunted by professionals. Think how difficult that would be. Even those in witness protection are sometimes found. But what if you had to hide? Imagine, you witness a murder and the bad guys know you’ve seen their faces, or you’re wrongly accused of a horrible crime. Perhaps the authorities have confused you with a terrorist who shares your name or, like the main character in my new book, Fatal Obsession, you are pregnant and your unborn child is the subject of an experiment that holds the key to curing cancer, and a rich, powerful man is determined to harvest that research. Could you disappear?
Consider all the interactions you have with individuals, how many contacts you have, the fingerprints you leave everywhere you go—virtual and real. And consider the sacrifices you would have to make to truly disappear. Could you do it? The better question is, how?
Cash – Surviving requires money, and this means cash. No more credit cards, no more ATMs, no more PayPal. If you’re like most people, you might have a small amount of cash on you, but how much do you truly have available? If you had to run right now, you could hit an ATM as soon as you leave home and withdraw as much as possible, but most banks limit how much you can withdraw in a day—and you don’t have the luxury of waiting around to withdraw more tomorrow.
By going to the ATM, you’re leaving 2 trails – a digital trail of the withdrawal, plus a visual trail because there is now camera footage of you at the ATM (so the authorities now know what you look like).
So, what else can you do? Grab things before you bug out that can be converted to cash, like jewelry, watches, cameras and small electronics. Think about things that can be sold for cash at a pawn shop. You’ll be leaving another trail there, because pawn shops keep records, so you want to pawn these things as quickly as possible, as close to home as possible, so you don’t tell your hunters which direction you’re going.
Social media – Delete all your social media accounts and your email accounts. Delete absolutely everything. Destroy any hard drives that you leave behind. Bear in mind, deleting online accounts doesn’t actually get rid of anything. Once something is on the Net, it’s there forever. That said, you don’t want to make it easy for your hunters or have anything to show up on social media that allows someone else to tag you and thus expose you.
Pets – This would be the stickler for me. Going on the run has to be a solo endeavor. You have to be able to move quickly, and you’re going to have your hands full taking care of yourself. A known pet also makes you identifiable. Take your pet to a shelter or give him/her to a trusted friend (sniff).
Job – You need to have a head start before people start wondering where you are, so either quit your job or ask for an extended leave. That is one less group of people that might report you missing. If you have to run without warning, send your boss a text the second you need to go, telling him/her you quit or that you got called out of town on a family emergency.
Part Two of Could You Disappear? appears next week.
Lori L. Robinett lives in rural Missouri with her husband of 20+ years. One very spoiled Miniature Schnauzer and Miniature Beagle allow them to live in the house, and the outside is patrolled by Patches (a sweet tom cat stray that missed his calling as a lap cat). If she isn’t reading, writing or scrapbooking, you may find Robinett cruising country roads in her lifted yellow Jeep. Fatal Obsession is the newest in the Widow’s Web series, a themed series of standalone novels in which each widow faces challenges that threaten to destroy her just as she begins to find her strength. Visit Robinett’s website at http://lorilrobinett.com/