HowTo:Change Your Identity

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Shadowy man

This is how you will look under your new identity.

So, you want to change your identity? This is usually a result of being on the run from the law, organized crime, stalker of the same sex or your raging ex-girlfriend. It can be very lengthy and involve a lot of time and effort on your part. But thousands of notable individuals have undergone a successful identity change, and so can you. Follow this step-by-step procedure, and you'll be safely living as another person in no time.

edit Follow the Seven P's (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance)

First, don't be afraid to plan ahead and don't forget to do some or all of the following secretly:

  • learn a new language
  • try out new accents
  • learn new job skills
  • learn new hobbies
  • develop a taste for different foods
  • switch handedness (lefties should become righties and vice versa)
  • change your sense of fashion (or develop or lose one)

edit Sever all ties

The first part of any identity change involves severing all ties with the known world. For some of internet users, this won't be a challenge to pull off; nevertheless, you must be as careful as possible, as one loose end can blow your cover.

First, take a step back from society. You don't necessarily have to join the Desert Fathers, but certain small things are a must.

Cancel all magazine/newspaper subscriptions. Don't reply to snail mail, and get rid of your e-mail address. Wipe your computer clean, making sure to cancel internet subscriptions as well, and then destroy it. And, most importantly of all, disconnect your phone, radiator, washing machine and any other electronic devices. Although this may seem a little over-the-top, if you are truly dedicated to disappearing, you will make sure to eliminate all possible methods that can be used to find out anything about your previous locations. Note: placing your possessions in a constantly moving vehicle (bus, taxi or train) will give anybody tracking it the run around.

Then, move on to your work-related ties. Quit your job, clean out your office of any and all items, dust the place for fingerprints, and wash the room in bleach. Anyone inquiring in your workplace will find absolutely no evidence you existed. Next, withdraw all money from your bank account, cancel it, remove your name from the register and rob the establishment to prevent any possible finance-related issues in future, as well as enforce its bank-rupture, thus assuring your safety. Furthermore, if you haven't done anything like that before, robbing a bank will fall under both the learn new job skills and the learn new hobbies categories.

Then cancel all credit/debit cards, cease using pay-checks and, if possible, banknotes, switching to coins: they are an easy way to discover a person in hiding.

If you have a sense of humor and are willing to increase your risks slightly, have fun sending post cards and letters from a fake address. Use an address of a cemetery or a minimum-security, white-collar prison.

To family and friends, give a name of a street that sounds like your own name; to enemies, give addresses of tropical paradises. Note: Do not actually move to any of these places.

edit Choose a new name

Many people under witness protection programmes often get very normal-sounding names, such as John Smith, Brian Williams, James Jones, or Nguyễn Thuô Duôc. This is very boring, considering all the naming possibilities. Instead look at the biggest snitch of all time, Sicilian mafia pentito Tomaso Buschetta who changed his name 180 times during his long retirement, being hunted by all mafia-related gangs of the world. In addition, think about the curriculum vitae you are going to present to enterprises in close future: are you sure they would like to employ someone who doesn't have enough imagination to find a good way to call himself?

Something else you should think about when changing your name is not to take an appellation similar to your current one. For example, if you are currently known as "Cool Bill," you shouldn't rename yourself Bill Cool. Or if your internet-name is NOOB606 it wouldn't be good to be called Newb Sixohsix for the rest of your life. Chad Ochocinco (Spanish for 85) famously failed to achieve anonymity when he selected that as his new name, as his football jersey gave him away.

Consider becoming a Black Muslim. Basketballer Lew Alcindor would have lived out his life in obscurity if he had not embraced Islam and schizophrenia and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. If you are not black, shoe polish or woodstove soot are simple remedies. If you are in fact trying to live out your life in obscurity, combine the conversion to Islam with relocation to Arabia.

If you are totally lacking in creativity, draw Scrabble tiles from a bag.

edit Change your appearance

A key step in making an identity change is to change your appearance. Long trenchcoats, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and Groucho Marx style plastic nose and mustache are tried-and-true, though perhaps conspicuous compared to current fashion. Do not reject out-of-hand getting plastic surgery, including "gender reassignment."

edit Move

Now that you're a new person, you must find some place to live. Generally, leaving your continent is a good idea if you're in danger of being followed.

Don't choose a place of your dream, as your next location, otherwise your most close relations will certainly guess it. And nobody is as dangerous and troublesome your current friends and family members, who won't hesitate to give you up to anyone who'll pay, as soon as you are gone. Rather, choose your future place of residence at random, using a pin and a world map or a spinning globe.

Note: don't be surprised by any country and don't retry, if the place you get is the South Pole or the middle of the Sahara Desert. Instead, search for pros and know that the worse it sounds, the better this place is for hiding and chances are good it will contribute greatly to your identity change.

edit See also

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