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Evidence, finally, of how Scientology obsessively tracks down its former members

One of the most-well known things about Scientology is that once you get on their mailing list, it’s very difficult to get taken off of it.

On social media, you often see people speak of being tracked down by the church decades after they bought a single book or took a single course. We talked to a man who was still getting calls and mailers more than forty years after he’d left Scientology and had moved multiple times.

We’re often asked by people how the church tracks them down when they’ve moved, or when they have an unlisted telephone number. We’ve told them that we have to believe Scientology has a fairly sophisticated database that is constantly being updated, and that it must use fairly sophisticated tools.

Well, now we may have finally have obtained some proof of that.


This week we obtained a really fascinating internal Scientology document which goes a long way to explaining how thorough the church is about tracking people.

In order to protect our source, we can’t tell you a lot about how we obtained the document. But we think for the most part it speaks for itself.

So what is the document? It’s a one-page record of a particular person whose involvement in Scientology appears to have ended around the year 2005. We have blocked out the person’s name, as well as the numerous listings of their addresses and phone numbers. But even so, the document has a lot of information we wanted you to see…


Near the top of the document, there’s a listing of how involved this person is (or was) in Scientology: “Student, Crusader, Pro Upper Indoc TR Course, Grade III Expanded,” which suggests that this person has gone most of the way to the intermediate goal of “Clear,” and that they’ve made some donations (“Crusader”).

On the right side of the page, there is more information about the person’s involvement — that they are a student and member, and purchased some “Congresses” on CDs in 2005, but there is no record that they have accomplished some of the goals that have become so important in Scientology under David Miscavige’s leadership — the SRD course, the Purification Rundown, and the Golden Age of Knowledge “Basics.” In other words, Scientology has a lot more to sell this person!

But how to find them?

It’s the material down the left side of the document that is really very interesting to us. What we blocked out were numerous versions of this person’s name, an email address, several physical addresses and numerous phone numbers.

Each of them is identified by which professional data service was tapped for the information.

We showed the document to a private investigator, who told us the names of those services are quite well known.

He pointed out that up to 2014, searches were being made on Accurint — a very accurate but more expensive service. The more recent searches, in 2016, were on Transunion, a less expensive but much less accurate database.

“My hunch is that this is being done by a Scientology operative – not a private investigator. It appears that they used Accurint in 2014 – which is expensive – and then went to Transunion in 2016, which is cheaper. It appears to be a decision made on cost,” the PI says.

Such searches on Accurint would cost about $2.50 each, but on Transunion would only be about $1. That’s a significant savings when you’re talking about so many multiple searches on thousands of former members.

Our current estimate for the number of active church members around the world is about 20,000, but based on what former top officials have told us, there are more like 200,000 names in Scientology’s databases — mostly ex-members, and many of them continuing to get calls and mailers.

In the case of this document, the person has apparently asked not to be contacted, and the document reflects that. But they are still being tracked, from address to address.

That’s not creepy at all, right?

“I have known for some time they were using some sort of skip tracing service,” former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder told us after we showed him the document. “These days they cannot get anyone new to come in. And they have these files with everyone who has ever bought anything. But they are notoriously incapable of keeping their filing current, let along tracking address changes. So, a huge percentage of the names they have they cannot contact. These are much better prospects than straight raw meat — they had enough interest at some point to buy something. So, they have devoted a lot of effort and a lot of money to tracking these people down.”


Make your plans now!

Head over to our HowdyCon 2018 website to start making your travel plans!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,024 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,627 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 170 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,233 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,007 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,781 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,127 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,621 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,661 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,373 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 899 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,988 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,128 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,448 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,423 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 779 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,081 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,187 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,590 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,462 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,044 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,549 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,793 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,902 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on February 13, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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