Cover, legend and new identity

by | Aug 4, 2020 | Anonymous Living, Anonymous Travel, Fugitive, New Identity


The most important element of a new identity is the use of a cover and the creation of a legend. A cover is a second identity, and a legend is the background story and documents that support the cover.

When assuming your new Cover/alias, your ‘Legend’ is the background information that will ‘flesh out’ your identity, and ensure it is plausible.

If your Legend is a nationality not your own, you should be familiar with basic politics and news in your home country,.

You don’t want to get caught because someone asks what school you went to in your cover’s home town and you can’t name it or its mascot.

Maybe you’re visiting Japan as a South Korean and have nothing of note to say about the controversy over the Dokdo/Takeshima islands or refer to them incorrectly for your nationality.

If your legend speaks with a different accent than you do, you should be able to emulate it without going overboard and arousing suspicion.

Learn how locals pronounce their city names, especially if you’re using a regional or local accent (e.g. it’s not ‘Baltimore’ if you’re from the area — locals often pronounce it more like ‘Ballimer’).

Don’t be afraid to draw on your own experience as long as it works with your legend. The most convincing stories are the truthful ones…Telling the truth whenever you actually can, goes a long way toward making your Legend more believable.

It’s all in the details

Basic details about your Legend should come easily and without hesitation. Your birth date, profession, place of residence and address, details of your home, your favorite drink, dish, or place to eat back home, and so on.

For example, a spy whose Cover identity is a Russian accountant would need to speak Russian and know a great deal about Russian financial laws.

To make the Cover seem more realistic, the Legend must be very thorough. The agent will have a fake life history that he must memorize.

  • Where did he go to school?
  • Does he have a diploma to prove it?
  • Where was he born?
  • Who is his ex-wife?
  • What are his hobbies?

The Legend

If the Legend states that the agent enjoys fishing, he’d better have some fishing gear in his house. The failure or success of a Legend can hinge on such seemingly minor details.

Beware of overconfidence, after acquiring a new Cover identity, a person should abandon the habits and associations of their previous identity.

Christopher John Boyce was a spy for the USSR, who was nicknamed “The Falcon†for his interest in competitive falconry.

There were barely a hundred falconers in the entire United States in the 1980s, and Boyce was known personally to most of them.

After escaping from federal prison on January 21, 1980, and acquiring a new identity, Boyce resumed his old habit of attending falconry competitions, using a new identity.

While still associating with falconers who had known him by his original name, Boyce was sequentially re-arrested on August 21, 1981.

If you have concerns or problems with your new identity, Amicus International Consulting can help.