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Complete identity change

  1. Aug 7, 2013 #1
    I've been watching a TV series recently called Person of Interest, it's really cool you should check it out. I'm curious though about people who somehow manage to completely wipe their identity and literally become a nobody and then aquire a new identity.

    I think legally the most thorough identity change comes from witness protection, but even then there are people in government who have files attaining to your true identity. On the assumption that you're never had your DNA or finger prints taken, I think the only way to completely become a new person, never to be identified ever again would be to fake your death and join the French Foreign Legion as I know they issue you with a new identity with French citizenship ect but then the question is, if you commited some kind of crime in another country and were arrested, you would only have a life history dating back to when you were issued your new ID, or would it be likely that the FFL would create a whole life background for you? Fake school, birth address ect?

    Just curious really, I think in this day and age, with the internet being what it is and everyone throwing their social lives onto it, there is no way to truely change ones identity?

    You'd need to change it so even if your mother saw you in the street and a full scale police investigation into your life went underway, you'd need your new ID to hold up... I highly doubt it's possible.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2013 #2
    An alternative way is to have a disassociative identity disorder. There was an american spy who was taken advantage of by the US government to conduct secret operations. In one personality, she fit the profile of a well trained covert agent/assassin(?) while in her other personality she was essentially a normal girl with a hot body. The remarkable thing is that neither of the personalities had a memory of the other. Of course, this is somewhat common for people with DID.

    Here is the Damninteresting.com article:
  4. Aug 7, 2013 #3
    I've heard of some blackhats that have staged their own deaths, and stolen identities instead. I don't think it's as great as it sounds.
  5. Aug 7, 2013 #4
    Love that show! I remember having a fantasy of faking my death and go away to a desert and do physics for rest of my life [Hey! I was a fourth grader]. Hmm... a full-scale investigation... to survive that you'll probably need a mole on the inside either that or infinite resources. And if you are gonna pull the FFL stunt you probably should go underground for a year or so. But personally I would go to a forger and get my identities in order. Oh and if you are gonna commit some crime you probably should get the identities beforehand and make it seem like a suicide with a letter and all done with the deepest regret.
  6. Aug 7, 2013 #5
    A while back I got into the Jane Whitefield novels by Thomas Perry.

    The premise is that Jane is an incredibly crafty, resourceful woman who helps people disappear when bad guys are after them. She gets them new identities and a new look, but the hard part is usually training them to avoid doing all kinds of things to give themselves away, things they don't realize the bad guys will be watching for. Enigman, for instance, would have to give up physics, because the bad guys would include an interest in physics in their profile of people to watch for.

  7. Aug 8, 2013 #6
    I would rather pull of a Reichenbach fall and then steal the identity of a well known and established physics nerd, the guy [real] would probably disappear while I would take his identity and have a horribly disfiguring accident and have a complete plastic surgery. And then I will do physics happily ever after; though I might have to spend my mornings pollishing my fingerprints off...
  8. Aug 19, 2013 #7


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    Aside from stealing an identity I don't know how someone could get a new one and its only going to get harder and harder as time goes on. First it's probably quite difficult to get new passports, social security/national insurance numbers, credit histories, qualifications etc. Having no record is a big hinderance when trying to get a loan or a job or car insurance.

    And secondly I would find it really strange if someone under 25/30 had no online presence. That means no blog posts, forum membership and (the big one) social media accounts. That's going to be even harder to get around as time goes on and a greater proportion of the population have multiple social media outlets.
  9. Aug 19, 2013 #8

    jim hardy

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    I have great-grandpa's SS card. He died before computers and doesn't show up in the SS death registry. I've sometimes wondered if I could create a new identity -
    ......surely they'd challenge a birthdate of 1870 .
  10. Aug 19, 2013 #9


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    London's Metropolitan police created second identities for some of their officers on undercover jobs by taking on the identity of children that were born around the same time as the officers but later died. The police then created a back story and evidence around it so it was convincing. They eventually were found out for it and there was some fuss about it being unethical, not what the outcome was, but its certainly possible to do it that way.
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