• Locard Investigations

Avoiding Surveillance - 10 Top Tips to stay safe

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

We all have that feeling sometimes, you know, when you think that someone is watching you? Call it intuition or awareness, but it just doesn’t feel right. Mostly there’s nothing wrong – and especially if you’ve nothing to hide why would anyone be watching you? But if you seriously think that you could be being followed read on to learn how to detect and avoid surveillance by a private investigator.

Know your own locality

1. Absence of the normal, presence of the abnormal – Your general awareness is your biggest asset. Being able to notice things that are seemingly out of place or have no reason for being there is the first thing to raise our suspicions. We subconsciously process a myriad of data about our environments every day, and whilst not everything is committed to memory, we learn patterns about our daily life e.g., normal pattern of life in our street and community, without even trying. This simple survival instinct is your first asset in spotting someone watching you. Try to increase awareness when leaving the house, pay attention to the cars in the street – is there anyone hanging around with seemingly no reason to be there? All these tiny details can help you stay one step ahead.

different times
Vary your routine

2. Break your routine – surveillance personnel look for patterns and altering your routines frustrates their efforts. By travelling at different times of day and using varied routes on foot and by car means anyone watching you must be 100% vigilant 24/7. By changing your behaviour, the watchers require the capability to impose surveillance all the time – this is very expensive and tiring and leads to lapses in coverage.

getting in to car
Is there a tracker under your car?

3. Check under your car – Magnetic trackers can be fitted to your car in a matter of seconds and provide the watchers with real time information on the movement of your vehicle. They can be detected with radio-frequency monitors (although this can be difficult in an urban environment where there is a lot of interference) OR located with a magnetic field detector waved under the car. If there’s a tracker fitted to your vehicle, a surveillance operative can download your routes, locations, stops and timings from a remote console from anywhere in the world with internet access.

moving people
Could you spot someone following you?

4. About turn – There are some easy tactics to detect and deter surveillance whilst out and about on foot. If walking in the urban environment and you suspect you’re being followed simply stop and turn around and walk back the way you’ve come. As you walk back make a mental note of people you see. Unsophisticated operators will stop and try to look natural and you should take special note of these. As a general rule, if you see someone twice, it’s likely to be a coincidence – however, a third time might mean that they are tailing you!

cafe women
Leave nothing behind

5. Clear your own table – If there’s a surveillance team on you, they’ll be trying to gain as much information about you as possible. This means any piece of litter, receipt, discarded tickets and the like might provide valuable information about your movements. Don’t leave anything on the table at a restaurant or café.

mobile phone camera
Take a picture of them

6. Challenge – nothing spooks a surveillance operative more than being challenged. If you’ve seen the person 3 times and think that they may be on to you, directly ask them if or why they’re following you. If you don’t want to engage, take a picture of them with your phone camera (they’ll notice!) and realise that you’ve clocked them. This will cause the surveillance to pull out as they know they’ve been compromised.

tube station
Following underground is a challenge

7. Use Public transport – Following a mark on public transport is very difficult to do, especially in a busy urban environment where there are fast-moving crowds. If using the train, board the train and then get off again and look out for who does the same. If boarding a bus, sit at the back, note who is front of you, and see who gets off at your stop. Using ride-hailing apps from random locations (i.e., not your house) making it very difficult for surveillance to follow you unless they have a car on-call waiting.

Varying your speed can expose surveillance

8. Vehicle Drilling – There are several simple things that you can do whilst out driving to detect and deter surveillance. Try pulling into a dead-end street and note if any other cars pull in behind you. At roundabouts, instead of turning off, circle the roundabout once or twice to see if anyone does the same behind you. Vary your speed when on the open road or highway – again, watch to see if other vehicles are mirroring your speeds. Perform a series of left hand turns around the block – this unnatural behaviour can easily highlight a car that’s following you.

Beware of anyone too close!

9. Beware the shoulder-surfer! When out and about conducting your business, the private investigator may try to get up close and personal whilst you are interacting with other people. This will be to try and gain as much information about what you are doing as possible. Purchasing train tickets, using an ATM or organising travel all might give the private investigator valuable insights as to your future movements. If someone feels too close, they may be trying to record details of your transactions, purchases and other private information.

10. Hire a Private Investigator! Most private investigators who engage in surveillance activities can also be hired to detect whether someone is following you by watching the watchers! They might involve you in an exercise where you are to drive a pre-determined route and watch for following vehicles at certain key points along that route. This will identify if a vehicle or team of vehicles is actually keeping tabs on your movement. Similarly, they might be able to conduct an electronic sweep of your home or business premises to identify whether any electronic surveillance devices have been planted that could be giving away your every move.

As we can see there are some amazingly simple ways of keeping yourself out of the spotlight from simple vigilance and awareness to specific tricks to frustrate the aims of the surveillance private investigator. If YOU believe that you are being followed, then maybe you need your own private investigator to stay out of the spotlight!

42 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All