Living a Double Life, by Sara Sue

The biggest threat to this country right now is the Socialist/Progressive movement that includes the belief that we should not be “America the great, the free”; that we must take our appropriate place among the world leaders as equals, and that we must “spread the wealth” to ensure “social justice”.  In the end, this type of thinking leads to a one-world government under the leadership of a “benevolent” governing body who controls our every move.  This belief has undermined the security of this country and exposed us to those who would have us dead – the external threats.  The internal threat is the systematic weakening of our constitutional rights and the socialization of our country.  There is no other modern society on the face of the planet that has enjoyed the prosperity that Americans have enjoyed.  Our success was built upon the Constitution, freedom to prosper, the belief in God-given unalienable rights, and Christian principles.

The conclusion that I have come to, outside of water and food storage, arms, self-sufficient lifestyle, etc., is that we must learn to live a double life.  We must give every appearance of being good little citizens (sheeple), while secretly preparing to go underground, to disappear, and to live invisibly.  Why?  Because we could become targets, be labeled “terrorists”, or deemed a threat to national security, because we disagree with the direction our country is headed, because we speak out against government overreach.

I have spent many years, reading every book/blog/opinion on privacy and security and I am a security professional by trade.  I learned the most from J.J. Luna (his blog and book “How To Be Invisible”.)  The biggest challenge with living under the radar is that we live in an interconnected society, most transactions that we make are electronic, which means there is a paper trail.  We bank electronically, we communicate electronically, we buy and sell electronically (point of sale systems at grocery store, gas station, etc.).  Smartphones and technology services like OnStar (in our cars), make our geographical location “traceable”.  Our personal records including medical, educational, employment, familial, and financial records are all in electronic form and stored in vast databases.  Everything about us is known.  There is no hiding place, unless… we create a separate identity for ourselves.  I am not talking about illegal activities, fake ID’s, or anything of that nature.  I am talking about becoming largely invisible on the one hand, and being totally visible on the other.
Your visible self has a home and an address, is known in the community, works a job (hopefully), participates in community activities, and conducts itself normally.  This is the self that you will maintain.  Your invisible self has no name, no address, is not known outside of the closest family members and trusted individuals, uses cash, not credit, barters for daily needs, and lives as self-sufficiently as possible.  If you had to walk out your front door today, never to return, while making it appear that you are still actively participating in your life, how could you do that?

The process for living a double life is fraught with difficulty because we are upright, law abiding, Christian people.  Nonetheless, we must think about, study, and learn what other peoples in other countries have done to protect their lives and their families under despots, oppressive regimes, and under threat to life and liberty.  Thinking like this is foreign to Americans because we have enjoyed liberty and luxury for generations.

If you are not following me, let me recap the necessity of creating the alternate you.  There is the possibility that our government may become hostile and oppressive, demonstrated by the slow and consistent erosion of our constitutional rights.  There is the possibility that our country could be invaded by hostile forces.  It is also true, that we may, at some point in our lives, need or want to drop out of sight to protect our privacy due to a frivolous lawsuit or due to a stalker or just plain exhaustion from the rat race.  We must acknowledge that our true selves have no place to hide, due for the most part to advanced technology and electronic communications.  Dropping our true selves out of sight is problematic and garners attention.
We must keep our visible self visible, and our invisible self invisible.
The following are steps we can take to create our alternate life, while operating within the law (each step explained further following the list):
1. Create anonymous, cash-based, home based, side businesses (may include bartering).
2. Operate outside the banking system with your new alternate source of income.
3. Pay cash for any purchases relating to prepping, purchase in small, consistent increments.
4. Locate and lease or buy with cash alternate accommodations/housing, private-party, avoiding credit checks/paper trail.
5. Keep a low profile.
6. Register vehicles (must be paid off) in a company name.
7. Prep the alternate location, plan the route out, and practice the plan.

Here they are, in detail:

1. Anonymous, cash based, home based businesses.
Keeping food on the table and a roof over your head is the highest priority, correct?  Like most people, we have to work for a living.  If you have a current job, keep it and do well at it.  In your spare time, you must start several side businesses that operate on a cash basis.  You will report your net income to the IRS because it is the law, but you are not required to divulge what your business does.  For taxation purposes, your business entity is you.  If your business is primarily services related, you do not have to deal with the local sales taxing authorities if services are not taxed in your state.  If you must sell product, it is taxable.  If you are required to register your business in your state, county, city, do so, but do so carefully.  At no point in the process will you reveal your real name, real address, or provide any information that leads back to you.

Frank A. Ahern
has written a couple of books (if you can get over the profanity), that reveal how skip tracers (and anyone in law enforcement) track people down.  The information he provides will be invaluable when it is time for you to disappear from your visible life, or how to conduct your invisible life while maintaining your visible life.  Since skip tracing became an unpopular and illegal activity, Frank decided to reengineer himself into a privacy consultant.  His focus is on disinformation and I found the idea very tantalizing.  If I could put enough wrong information about myself “out there” (on the Internet, in the various national databases), I could be quite hard to find if I decided to disappear. 

Another useful book, Hiding from the Internet: Eliminating Personal Online Information by Michael Bazzell, offers step by step instructions to eliminating your personal online information.  A very simple method is to Google yourself, and try various incarnations of your name(s).  For each web site where your personal information appears, follow the instructions for removing your personal information.  Many data aggregators provide a way to do that online and some make it very difficult.  Set up a Google alert on your name, so that each time your name(s) appear online, an email will be sent to you.  In keeping with Ahern’s strategy, rather than remove yourself, request your information be modified to “more accurately reflect your information”.  Get the idea?

It is funny (and sad), but what you will need to do is think like organized crime does, without committing any crime.  Your cash based business will not have a web site, a Facebook page, business cards, a sign on the side of your car, a listing in the phone book, or any other vestiges of marketing.  How do you market it? Word of mouth. (More options, such as Internet Businesses later on). Yes, it is the underground economy that you will be entering. However, you will report your income and pay taxes on it, like a good citizen (sheeple). You will never accept a check – only cash, cold hard cash.

Sit down and do detailed skills assessment. What are you good at? My skillset is in technology, security, and privacy. I am in process of reviving a side business that helps individuals and groups use technology privately and securely. I wish I had skills in many homesteading areas, but I am trying to teach myself. A fair trade in my mind would be to trade my skills for your farm fresh meats and produce, and handyman services. For those who can pay for private security technology services, I would arrange for my services at very reasonable barter prices. After all, I do not expect the top dollar consulting pay I make in the “real world” in exchange for complete privacy and cash. In a bartering economy, the price is determined by the demand. Right now, I see very little concern among individuals as to their online privacy and security. The demand will come when the time is right. Suffice it to say, at some point you will need to communicate using the Internet in a completely anonymous way. You will want to erase your Internet footprints and fingerprints; you will want to request deletion of your information from public and private databases, you will want your home computers safe from prying eyes, and highly sensitive electronic information safe from disclosure or confiscation, and you will want to be able to circumvent government sponsored censorship of Internet resources. Unless you plan on using carrier pigeons, smoke signals, or plan to never again communicate with your family, this is a skill you must have.
Is an Internet business the right thing for you? It is if you can manage the complexity, security, and privacy components of it.

An anonymous Internet business requires a wide variety of skills, mostly related to technology. It is possible to create one in an anonymous and secure fashion, but it is not easy. You will need to consider such things as web hosting offshore, out of U.S. jurisdiction. However, even then, transborder communications are monitored by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, so why make your web site a target of suspicion by offshoring hosting? It would be better to use a local hosting company and retain control over your web site security and data, or host your own equipment (not from your home – yes, it gets complicated). Either way, there is a lot to understand, think about, and pay attention to. If you used PayPal (recommended) for payments via your web site, PayPal will verify you are who you say you are when you open an account. PayPal also requires a verifiable bank account for you to access your cash quickly (instantly via ATM and several business days for bank transfers). In recent times, PayPal has started to insist on social security numbers and date of birth, especially if you try to use a PayPal account sans a bank account. In all cases, it would be very tricky indeed to keep your Internet business from pointing right back to you. You could go the BitCoin route, but I have not tried that yet, so I cannot advise. Unless you have the skills to set up a completely anonymous Internet business, do not do it.

Another option is to begin your new cash business behind the doors of your existing business. Isn’t that what organized crime does? The only legality concern is income and taxes. If you keep it clean, legal, and safe, it shouldn’t be anybody’s business what you do in your own space, owned, or leased.
The goal is to create alternate revenue streams “off the public books” and out of the public eye, so if you have to walk away from your real job, you won’t starve.

2. Operate outside the banking system
Operating outside the banking system is extremely difficult. If you work for a large employer, like I do, paychecks are auto-deposited. Even the Social Security Administration is requiring recipients to provide a bank account for funds deposit. It used to be that SAR (Suspicious Activity Reports) were only created by a bank when a $10,000 or more cash deposit was made, but I heard recently through the law enforcement grapevine, that even $5,000 and as little as $3,000 cash deposits are being tracked and reported by your bank. If you think your bank account is yours, it’s not. It’s the bank’s and they are being called upon to report more and more details about cash transactions (to the FBI). The only solution is to keep your cash “at home”. There is plenty written on survivalblog about how to hide cash. J.J. Luna also offers a book and advice on how to hide cash.

I have tried numerous times to operate on a cash basis and I have found it extremely difficult in our modern society. Take a simple example, like filling your gas tank. I’m used to swiping at the pump and when the weather is cold, I don’t like walking “all the way” over to the main building, going inside, waiting in line, to pay the cashier, walking back to the truck, etc. Wow. We have become so spoiled, and we are accustomed to convenience. I’ve tried to use cash for grocery store runs that include stocking up, and find that I filled my cart with more than I had the cash to pay for, so I swiped the card. Living on a cash basis requires extreme discipline. No more Internet purchasing (my favorite!), no more plastic. The only way to keep your private life private is to live on a cash basis. However, I am not advocating a total cash based life. Your public life needs to remain normal looking and your bank account transactions need to appear normal. Your private (invisible life) needs to utilize cash. Keeping the two separate is where the extreme discipline comes in.

Basically, you will have to earn cash from an alternate cash based business, and you will have to purchase items using cash. This is inconvenient. In order to avoid suspicion, don’t buy bulk all at once. Recall earlier last year when the FBI issued the “ Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities”, part of the “Communities Against Terrorism” program – someone’s really bright (read stupid) idea, that gives the federal government a basis to target ordinary citizens and classify them as terrorists. Google it. You will be aghast at the list of ordinary activities that are being classified as “potential terrorist” activities.

Here’s how I decided to attack this problem of buying bulk, I slowly increased my normal shopping routine to include bulk items, so that over time, my normal purchasing habits have remained consistent. I shop at a Super Wal-Mart (great place for bulk items at low cost). I don’t order emergency supplies over the Internet. I don’t walk in and make a several thousand dollar purchase. I know this sounds really ridiculous, but we are being watched.

Perhaps someone just needs to pay you by check and you agree to accept it (this applies only to low denominations). Don’t think you can go to that person’s bank and cash it at the teller window without some effort. I tried this once and was asked for a fingerprint, ID, and was charged a $5 fee, and the teller stared at me and was rude (the check was for $1,000). Just stick with cash.
If you need to get cash from your checking or savings account in order to have cash on hand, start by making it a habit of withdrawing small amounts of cash at the ATM, slowly, over the course of time – payday would be a good day to target – everyone takes out a little money on payday. Don’t show up at the bank and withdraw thousands of dollars at any one time. Isn’t this ridiculous?

3. Pay cash for any purchases relating to prepping, purchase in small, consistent increments.
I know it feels good to make that bulk food purchase online and have it shipped to your home or alternate address in unmarked boxes, but that purchase is traceable to you and puts you on the “potential terrorist” watch list, right? If you have already done it, don’t worry about it. Moving forward, don’t do it again. You may have to start planning mini vacations to visit suppliers and pay cash for your purchases. Try to purchase in prepper friendly states, such as Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. My tact has been to stock up incrementally during regular purchases. I established a pattern of purchasing over the past two years that allows for stocking up while appearing to be the usual shopping. While some have advised purchasing outside your area where you are known, I prefer shopping at my local Wal-Mart Superstore where the cashiers are friendly local people used to my dragging two full carts through the registers every other week. I don’t call attention to my purchases by doing “extreme couponing”. I make small talk with the cashier and ensure that I mention how relieved I am to be able to do my monthly shopping on one trip, how expensive teenagers are, along with other seemingly useless conversation. It’s a good idea to not be overly friendly, but polite and engaging. Ask the cashier how his or her day is going while your purchases are mindlessly scanned through.

4. Locate and lease or buy with cash alternate accommodations/housing, private-party, avoiding credit checks/paper trail.
This has been the most difficult objective for me personally. I do not have the financial means of buying suitable property outright (cash) in addition to my primary residence. The only option for me is to “lease vacation property” from a private party.  J.J. Luna has excellent advice on how to lease anonymously using cash. He suggests making a larger than normal cash deposit with the private party owner (you will not go through a realtor or property management company) in exchange for anonymity. Use any excuse you want to ensure the landlord understands your need for privacy (abusive ex-spouse, stalker, high pressure/high visibility sensitive position, etc.). You will always pay with a cashier’s check. If the Landlord wants to see your ID, you offer your passport as proof of citizenship, not your driver’s license or other documentation, and you never offer your social security number or consent to a credit check. References are the easy part. The best way to get this accomplished is to take vacation time to explore the various areas of interest and inquire in person at the local establishments (coffee shop, supply store, etc.). You could order the local paper, but make sure you have it sent to your P.O. Box rather than your home address. Little towns are also well known for their enjoyment of gossip. As long as you take care of the property and are seen to be vacationing there frequently, are friendly and helpful to the locals, your intermittent presence should not be a problem.

5. Keep a low profile.
This is more difficult for some than others. I have an introverted personality and I naturally keep a low profile. I’m a geek. My husband, on the other hand, is in Sales and he is extroverted, enthusiastic, popular, active, and involved in the community. Everyone in our community has his personal cell phone number. Coaching him over the last several years to “tone it down” has been difficult. My advice is: dump the expensive watch, fancy car, name brand clothes, and shoes, cool it on the aftershave, and stop making our home the hub of every get together. Hmmm. I sound very bah humbug, but we need to divert the entertaining to some neutral territory, like the local pub or restaurant.  

Get off Social Networking permanently, never to return.
Or alternatively, create the “fake you” Facebook page and post inane, funny, silly things, being careful to keep pictures of yourself and family members out of Facebook’s databases, never let anyone in your community know where your retreat property is, don’t post pictures of it on Facebook, comprende?    One of the biggest mistakes we all make in our technologically advanced society, is forget that our technology is our undoing.  Every “word we’ve spoken” (in email, on the web) is recorded somewhere and most likely resides in a database somewhere.  If the government really wanted to hunt you down, it would be easy – you gave them all the information they wanted by emailing a family member, posting on Facebook, or starting a blog.  

At a recent family gathering, we had a huge discussion about how we needed to stop discussing “prepping” on e-mail.  This is so hard to do.  We are geographically dispersed and email is soooo easy to use.  We only see one another a few times a year.  I don’t know the answer.  

We made a huge decision to close our small, local business this year. This will give us the flexibility to leave when we need to. The Pros and Cons were weighed over and over and over. The Cons won. We have cited “health” reasons for closing our business.  We agreed to make the time to take small trips throughout the year to investigate properties we could lease. We will treat our time together as mini-vacation/honeymoon time.

6. Register vehicles (must be paid off) in a company name.
If you ever had to leave Dodge, it would be a very good idea to leave in a nondescript vehicle that was registered in a private company name, not your own name. It is important that the vehicle be in good working order so as not to arouse suspicion or the attention of the highway patrol. Now that the highway patrol makes use (in many states) of hi-tech scanners, they don’t have to pull you over to “run your plates”. It’s done automatically as soon as your vehicle is in range. If, for some reason, you found yourself on an “undesirable prepper” list, it would be wise to ensure that your escape vehicle was not linked to you personally in any way. Now, of course, if you get pulled over, you have to show your driver’s license. Some people are quite stubborn about handing over a driver’s license when being pulled over, but I suggest to you that if you want to be on your way quickly, cooperate with “license and registration please”. It’s easy to explain that the car is a “company car” and you and your family are going on vacation to Whereverville. Always make sure the lights are working all the way around and for gosh sakes, don’t speed, or do anything stupid, like flip off a trucker, to garner attention. J.J. Luna offers help and advice on his blog as to how to register your vehicle in a private LLC.

7. Prep the alternate location, plan the route out, and practice the plan.
No need for any embellishment here – the expert content is on SurvivalBlog. If you really had to leave your home for an extended period of time, make sure your preparations have included securing the home you have left behind. My plan is to change the way we live slowly (but quickly, if that makes sense), to include long “vacation trips”, so that we spend time at our retreat property at least several months out of the year to begin with, and extend that duration over time, so that it seems quite natural to be gone frequently. As far as our friends in the community would know, we decided to take life a bit easier and really enjoy our retirement. Other “excuses” you could propagate are “my husband/wife took a job in Whereverville (not your retreat location please!) and the only way we can make this work for our family is to spend time in both places”. Alternatively, how about, “oh my mom and dad are not well and we committed to spending more time with them”. On the other hand, “life is short, we are out having fun and seeing the world!”.  

A note to those who are averse to telling a lie:  If the Gestapo were banging on your door, asking for the whereabouts of a family member, would you tell a lie to protect their life?  Think about it.  Get in the habit of providing lots of information without providing any information at all. Don’t mention the name of the town where your retreat is, don’t write it down, don’t put it in an email, on Facebook, don’t search the Internet for properties from your home computer, etc. Keep it in your brain and don’t ever keep a paper trail, electronic or otherwise. When you are at your retreat location, you will be using cash not your bank card. Your bank card transactions are perhaps the single most effective way of tracking you down. Don’t use it to fill your tank when you are on the road. Frank A. Ahern shares some interesting stories on this topic in his book. He suggested creating fake paper trails in locations quite far from your retreat location. His suggestions included putting in an application for a rental apartment, replete with credit check (to create a false record), purchasing small items at a local store, signing up for telephone service, and even opening a checking account at the local bank, only to abandon completion of the above tasks. These actions create the illusion that this is where you are going to move to. Meanwhile, you are on the other side of the country, anonymously, prepping your retreat.

In conclusion, my twist to surviving what is coming, is to live a double life, and slip out undetected when the time is right. The detail required to live a double life is overwhelming, but start small and try to work through each major category a little bit at a time.  Keep in mind at all times that we are being watched, Big Brother is here, and you never know when your name will show up on an “undesirable” list.  Be safe and Godspeed.

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