In 2020, there were 543,018 reported cases of missing people. This was the lowest number in over 30 years. But despite that, it’s still good to be prepared for unexpected emergencies. After all, when people are looking for you, the more information they have about you, the easier it is to locate you.
But what kind of information should you prepare? And how often do you need to update it? Read on to learn how to prepare your “If I Go Missing” folder.
Write Down What’s Important
There’s no limit to the information you can record in your confidential folder. And while this can change from situation to situation, you shouldn’t forget to include the most basic of your information. However, you should note that even the most basic of your info can encompass four or five pages. That means you must sit down and give time to prepare this document.
If you don’t know where to start, you can download this document prepared by the Crime Junkie Podcast. The file adds everything the people looking for you should know about you and then some. While you don’t have to fill out the document completely, the first four pages are crucial to help find you.
What to Include in Your “If I Go Missing” Profile
As said earlier, you don’t have to fill out everything in the file. Instead, you can put down what’s relevant in your life. For example, if you don’t frequently use your social media profiles (you might have quit social media), you can opt to skip that information. Or, if you’re working from home and at your own pace, you don’t have to fill out your Typical Workday section.
What’s crucial is you put down account information on your most used social media and messaging platforms. It’s also highly recommended that you add the contact details of the people you’re most close to. Whether they be family, friends, or colleagues, keeping their numbers in your emergency folder can help notify them if you’re in possible trouble.
If you’re going on a trip, you can also include its details, especially if you’re going abroad. That way, if anything goes wrong, your contacts will know where to start looking for you.
When to Update Your Information
You should look at your “If I Go Missing” folder at least every six months. That way, you can ensure your contacts and information are still updated. After all, environmental changes, like road construction, could alter your routine.
It’s also crucial that you update if there are significant changes in your life, like a new flat or work location. After all, if you disappear, you don’t want the people looking for you to come knocking at the wrong door.
Where to Keep Your “If I Go Missing” Folder
One thing you should know is that the “If I Go Missing” document has a goldmine of information on you. If you don’t keep it safe, you run the risk of it falling into the hands of the wrong person. All that information could give the criminally-inclined enough leverage to steal your identity—or worse; they could use that to ensure you disappear.
The best place to keep all this information is with your trusted lawyer. After all, they’re bound by law to protect your data, and you can sign an agreement with them to release it to only the right people under the right circumstances. If you can’t afford to have an attorney, the next best thing is to keep it in a safe deposit box in the bank, with only you and your most trusted people having access to it.
The least recommended place to keep this is at your home, but if you have no place else to keep it, you should at least put it in a document safe.
Who Should Have Access to Your Emergency Data
Once you’ve prepared everything, it’s time to pick who should have access to it. It doesn’t have to be your parents or your significant other, but it must be someone you should trust implicitly.
You can also inform multiple people about your “If I Go Missing” folder, especially those located in a different location. So if a calamity hits your area, and they haven’t heard from you in a week, they can search for you without thinking about the damages they’ve incurred themselves.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your information, you can also create customized “If I Go Missing” folders assigned to specific people. That way, they can only unlock your complete profile when they meet together because of an emergency.
The First Thing People Should Look For When They Can’t Find You
An “If I Go Missing” profile can help the people looking for you find you much quicker. Having all your information prepared in one place can ensure that the authorities know where to start looking. Beyond that, you can use the folder as a starting point to create a general emergency folder for your loved ones.
While preparing “If I Go Missing” and “When I Die” folders sounds morbid, having them ready reduces the paperwork your family members would have to undergo during stressful times. As someone once said, “it’s better to have it and not need it, rather than to need it and not have it.”