How to shake someone who’s tailing you

Screen shot 2015-07-30 at 3.49.02 PMKristen Felicetti via Hopes&Fears:

We live in an age where it pays to be paranoid. Security cameras are unavoidable. The NSA is tracking your email. Hackers could steal your identity or expose your most intimate secrets. If that doesn’t make you anxious enough, well, the threat of domestic and international terrorism looms, a massive earthquake will probably devastate the entire Pacific Northwest, and sharks have been attacking swimmers all summer.

All these recent threats might make you forget one old-fashioned reason for being paranoid: another person following you. You may never be able to shake 21st century digital surveillance, but we can help if you ever find yourself being tailed by an actual human being. Here’s how you lose someone who’s following you.

Behind the wheel

First, you need to determine whether you’re actually being followed or whether you’re just being paranoid. Do you have a reason for being investigated? People involved in litigation, marital or child custody disputes, insurance claims, high profile jobs, illegal jobs, or questionable business transactions are likely candidates to be followed, potentially by professionals. Even if you don’t have a reason for being tailed, there is always the possibility of being followed by a random creep, a driver with road rage, or a bored or prejudiced member of law enforcement.

If you’re in a car, keep an eye on the pursuer and make illogical directional moves. For example, make four left or right turns around a block. There would be no reason for any innocent car behind you to make the same moves. If you’re on the expressway, you could try slowing your speed to see if the car behind you does too, but a professional might pretend to go ahead, only to fall back and follow you again later. Try getting off the expressway and then get right back on. If the car behind you does the same, you’ve got unwanted company. Making these illogical directional moves also tells your tail that you’re onto them and may cause them to disengage.

If not, remain calm. You do not know their intentions, so don’t drive off onto a side street. Don’t give them a chance to confront you.

“Take it slow. This will allow you to see how aggressive the tail is. If they are sitting a few cars back, the tail is looking to document activity,” Rod Devine, a licensed private investigator and owner of Devine Intervention Detective Services, tells Hopes&Fears.

Do not go to any destination that would give your pursuer any information about you, such as your work, your home, or any loved ones’ residences. Keep driving in public and high traffic areas.

If they continue to pursue you, you shouldn’t try to start a car chase, but there are a few risky moves you can pull without having to be Steve McQueen.

On a highway, you can use large semi-trucks to your advantage. Wait for the right moment to weave in front of a truck without enough room for your tail to follow, nor see you. When you are out of their vision, you can quickly get off at the next exit before they have time to do the same.

Continue reading.

Follow Hopes&Fears on Twitter for more articles