Alternate Identity: Grant Hall Tells All
By Grant Hall
“You need to disappear. Yesterday,” he said.
“Are you liquid? Any real estate?”
We talked about mail service. “Anybody tries to ‘serve’ you by mail, well, that’s unconstitutional. They even try to
claim that, and I’ll get it overturned. A summons has to be done face to face,” he assured me, peering over bifocals.
Val had said he was old. Ancient. But sharp as a tack. The most brilliant law professor Val had ever had. And Salty
was the best civil and criminal attorney on earth—again, according to Val. I only cared about the last part.
“After even five or six months, they usually put the difficult cases on the back burner—the ones they can’t find.”
“Four years IS a long time,” I said, knowing that they had four years in this case to properly serve the summons. After
that, the case would be dismissed.
“Of course it is,” he replied.
“What do I owe you?” I asked. He waved me out.
What else? Salty read my mind. “You’ve got to disappear,” he said.
So I did.
There’s nothing fun or romantic or cool about having to change a lifestyle 2 and an identity—especially in a hurry.
But that’s the way you usually have to do it. In a hurry.
High-level privacy living is a whole lot of work, costs more than the “normal” way of living, and requires extra time
and effort to maintain the “cover.” And it requires isolation, planning, commitment, and effort.
I’ve had readers write me claiming that my book Privacy Crisis saved their lives. So, it may be worth your time, effort,
and money to follow the tactics I’ve used for many years, when you face your own privacy crisis.
Hopefully, your life isn’t at stake. Regardless of why you’ve chosen to use another name, it’s important to know what
you’re doing and model your efforts after what works, not after outdated, immoral, and possibly criminal acts written
about by the pseudo–privacy experts—the ones who copy each other and leave lots of holes in their stories.
Alternate Identity for Privacy
Not a lot of differences exist today—in establishing an alternate identity— than were there years ago. Except that
today, it makes headlines when someone gets caught defrauding someone else or attempting to do so. And of course,
Identity Theft is now the leading fraud crime in the U.S.A. So the public has an awareness about it.
And by the way, it’s never been against the law to use an alternate name for privacy purposes. Writers, actors, privacy
seekers, and others do it. You can too—as far as I know. To be sure, check with an attorney in your given jurisdiction
prior to using an alternate name and establishing your alternate identity.
Why use an alternate name? If you’re being stalked, suddenly becoming someone else can break the paper trail and
may save your life. More than 80 percent of women who are stalked by a current or former lover are assaulted by
Identity thieves can’t tap into a credit report—at least a valuable one—when you are known by a pen name.3
“You know who” won’t be able to tie you to anyone real when listening in on your phone calls only to trace the
registration of your cell phone to a nonexistent person.
If you’re famous, infamous, hunted, or only want to have your privacy, a quick and sure way to “disappear” is to
become someone else, part time. I say part time, because it’s prudent to retain your birth name for all official
purposes. The exception being that if you are wanted and will be wanted forever. In that case, I can’t help you.
But remember, if you know what you’re doing, you as the hunted have a huge advantage over the hunters.
Regardless of why you choose to use an alternate name, it’s important to keep everything legal. Otherwise, you
defeat the whole purpose of living a private lifestyle. It makes no sense to commit a crime for the sake of having
Frauds and Schemes to Avoid
Certain authors of the past—the ones I grew up reading—believed it was necessary to do all the wrong things in
hopes of gaining secrecy. Many years ago, I too, succumbed to the marketing efforts of mail-order catalogs and
phantom authors, in hopes of gaining information on how to win the game of hide and seek.
It’s an intriguing subject to be sure—privacy in general and alternate identity in particular. I found no real answers in
those expensive books shipped to me from afar by the supposed experts on the subject. Instead, my common sense
and conscience prevailed, and I instead studied, researched, consulted various resources, and opted for a practical,
workable—and most important—a legal approach to accomplishing privacy. The concepts I’ve written about in Privacy
Crisis: Identity Theft Prevention Plan and Guide to Anonymous Living work and won’t get you into trouble.
One guy wrote a book about contracting with a terminally ill patient for the purpose of assuming his/her identity, once
they passed on. The “dead baby/graveyard scheme” ran rampant in books on the subject in4 the 1980s and beyond,
and proponents encouraged their followers to steal an identity from the deceased and attempt to obtain a driver’s
license in the name of the dead infant or youth.
The “banking passport” idea is still popular, for those not in the know. Some recommend emigrating and changing
your name, once you’re officially a new citizen—not a bad idea, except that it takes from five to twelve years to become
a citizen of most first-world countries. Others have written on solutions for the privacy seeker, protesting the need for
official I.D. documents at all. This crowd may be right per the U.S. Constitution, but it’s difficult to do business without
primary identity documents.
Always Keep It Legal
It’s not a good idea to jump ship from law-abiding citizen to felon—all for the sake of being someone else on paper,
officially. I’ve spent thousands of hours on the subject of alternate identity and have written three full chapters on
the subject of “Identification” in Privacy Crisis.
I’m here to settle the argument once and for all: It’s not a matter of if but when you’ll get caught, if you follow the wrong
path on such a sensitive subject—especially today. With that in mind, and with a full understanding from my reading
audience, I’m making a guarantee—a promise—that it’s not necessary or desirable to do anything illegal for the sake
of having an alternate name and a workable alternate identity. Just stay with what I’ve outlined here and in Privacy
Crisis, and you’ll stay inside the law, where you should be.
Travel, Bank, Work, and Live Anonymously
For bank and brokerage accounts, holding real property and collecting money from gainful employment, it’s absolutely
do-able to use a company or trust name. For your protection—just in case you have to claim that bank5 account or
prove that house to be legally under your control—you’ll want your real name accessible, but invisible.
We use front entities to ensure anonymous travel, banking, working, and living, as described in Privacy Crisis. These
entities include Trusts, Limited Liability Companies, and Limited Partnerships. In order to set up these entities so they
reveal no ties to you on the surface, we use additional fronts, in the form of administrative trustees and others.
Once you’ve covered your real property, investments, and work by having those portions of your life in another name,
you won’t be showing up in the databases that track nearly everybody else. And that should be your goal in the first
place, as investigators, stalkers, identity thieves, and snoops use the information stored about your house and
investment properties, money, paper investments, job, car, and credit report to find you. And it usually takes about
a day for these various searchers to locate their subject.
Credit files can be frozen, your car can be owned by a trust, your house or apartment can be rented in an alternate
name, and you can be known by your pen name or alternate name. Mail can be received by nominees, and utilities
can be held in other names or company names.
In fact, once you learn how, you can shift all clues to the real you, to other names that lead anyone looking for you to
a dead-end investigation, while you’re living comfortably under the radar and out of reach from those wishing to
target your wealth, identity, or family.
Alternate Identity Documents
Another extremely sensitive subject that I’ve openly discussed in interviews and seminars is identity documents held
in another name. Also known as novelty I.D., these fake documents have taken a bad rap, and most manufacturers
won’t ship them to the U.S.A. anymore.
I’m not a big believer in flashing these around. In fact, for the purposes for which you’ll legitimately use your
alternate name, you’ll find it much more beneficial to be an excellent communicator rather than a fake document
People skills are so important that as a great speaker with the correct information, you’ll be able to get what you
want most of the time without ever showing I.D.—alternate or real. Again, you’ve got to know what you are doing in
order to do that. See the four chapters in the “Behavior” section of Privacy Crisis.
Official primary identity documents include a state-issued driver’s license, a passport, and a state-issued identification
(typically issued for those who don’t drive—and equivalent to a driver’s license).
I only carry these when absolutely necessary. When is that? Not often.
In fact, carrying identification is still optional, as far as I know. All states permit a police officer to ask or require a
suspect to disclose his identity. Carrying and showing identification is another matter and depends on the jurisdiction.
In the Supreme Court case of Larry D. Hiibel v. SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF NEVADA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY,
et al., No. 03-5554, the court has interpreted the statute to require only that a suspect disclose his name. It apparently
does not require him to produce a driver’s license or any other document.2
When you fly—if you still do—they’ll want to see one of the primary identification documents before they decide if they
want to let you on an airplane.
A driver’s license is a good idea in case you’re stopped by law enforcement while driving. And, by the way, do not
EVER give anything but the real thing to law enforcement or a government agency.
Most of the time, I don’t carry I.D. I don’t want to lose it, and I don’t want to show my papers unless I have official
business. Then, I’ll show it but won’t allow it to be copied—except in the rarest of circumstances.
I don’t have my Social Security number memorized, and of course, I don’t carry the card around. So if I’m stopped for
whatever reason when I’m not driving, my papers won’t be checked. And since the SSN is tied to so many7 databases,
it will be difficult to invade my privacy by running my private records and information through the system. But I’ll always
cooperate fully with law enforcement.
1. Hall, Grant, Privacy Crisis: Identity Theft Prevention Plan and Guide to Anonymous Living (James Clark King, LLC),
2006, p. 81. Available as an e-book
2. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, Syllabus, HIIBEL v. SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF NEVADA,
HUMBOLDT COUNTY, et al., No. 03-5554. Argued March 22, 2004. Decided June 21, 2004.
Copyright © James Clark King, LLC, February 26, 2008.