Tag Archives: Counter Surveillance

Pickpocketing.

Even in a low crime city there’s always petty crimes. Petty crimes like pick pocketing, purse/chain snatching, etc. The only thing that remains the same, is the fact that taking preventive measures to keep ourselves safe from these crimes, is our responsibility.

This article actually popped up in my head after thinking about a usb drive I lost a few years ago, due to my carelessness, it was the first and last time I have ever lost anything in my pocket. The usb had all my favorite songs, my pictures and videos of seminars I had done, some miscellaneous funny pics and over 1gb worth flight simulator X add-ons. There was nothing too important like passwords or login information to any sites. Adding insult to injury, I didn’t back up any data on it before I lost it. Had to replace all of it from memory. I did recover just about all of it within a few weeks. But losing that usb was quite a wake up call for me to be more careful of what I carry out and what I don’t.

I took that usb out because I was going to transfer some pics of my security training and seminar from the kind people at Reliance. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Now why did I mention that? Well, it’s because, sometimes, we are in a situation where we need to take something out of the secure place it’s in and bring it in the outside world. Not everything is in our control, but what’s in our control is making sure we reduce the chances of losing it or it being stolen, if/when we do take something important out.

Below I’ve written some simple things you can do to make sure the contents of your pockets aren’t stolen or lost. Principles remain the same due to the fact that the things have to be taken out of your pockets for you to lose them. This article is more geared towards safety from pick-pocketing and just making sure you don’t lose something that’s in your pocket. Purse/chain snatching, etc. requires a similar, yet a little more pro-active approach. Many of the principles do still apply.

So, to begin;

  1. Even though I mentioned a point about this above, I’ll still include it; Never take anything with you, that you don’t wanna lose, if you can help it.
  2. Never carry small things without its original casing or any other thing that you can put it in (carry bag, plastic pouch or a wallet); Small things are hard to keep track of and can be lost easily, bigger things are easier to keep an eye on.
  3. Never keep it in a shallow pocket, it can easily fall out or be taken out, without you noticing.
  4. Keep it in a pocket that’s tight enough that the contents can’t be removed without you feeling the hand in your pocket or fall without you feeling it fall out.
  5. Keep checking the contents in your pocket every 5 minutes or so (this can vary depending on many factors like where you are, will you be sitting, standing, running, how long, whether it’s a crowded place or not, etc.), even if it’s just feeling it out from the outside.
  6. Avoid removing anything from your pockets in public, especially crowded places, if you need something, try and remove it before hand and make sure nothing else falls out with it.
  7. Which brings me to the next point of never crowding and filling your pockets to the brim. Easiest way to lose something or it being pick-pocketed.
  8. In places where these things happen a lot, I.e. train stations, public parks, etc. Be cautious of people’s hands. Keep an eye on people’s hands and the direction they’re walking in. People who have nothing to do with you, will often avoid colliding with you, but those who want something in your pockets, will not avoid that collision, as that‘s their window of opportunity.
  9. Avoid keeping anything in the back pocket, it’s the one place you can’t always keep track of; I.e. your six.
  10. Be careful of the diversions, sudden collisions, feeling something on your back, someone pushing you, etc. etc. They might be a diversion to distract you while the other guy takes the contents out of your pocket and runs/walks the other way without you seeing and knowing it happened.
  11. Try having an inner pocket for the most important things. If you don’t have one, stitch it in. Add a pocket to your jeans or t-shirt on the inside and keep the important things in that.
  12. Of course, the most cliched point will be added by me like a broken record, I.e. be environmentally aware. Keep a look out for any odd behaviors (example mentioned above in no.8).

Well, that’s it. These are some of the things you need to pay attention to, so that you can make sure you don’t lose something that may very well affect your life, career, identity, sentiments, emotions, etc. Yes, it can be stressful for many.

Note- Now I know it might seem silly and downright stupid, but this post is kind of dedicated to my lost Toshiba USB drive. I miss you 😦

Finally, Thanks for reading! Like, share, if you found it useful!

 

Edit – I wanna add one thing related to Point no. 5. When I wrote keep checking your pocket every five minutes, it’s not some kind of a rule, or any specific number. It was meant to state that checking your pockets at fairly regular intervals, depending on where you are, can at least make you aware of anything that has fallen out or stolen. This is especially applicable if you’ve just felt a hand brush against your legs or hips or waist. It also can be applicable if you’ve just sat down and your pockets are at an odd angle (in this case, avoid putting anything in that pocket).

It doesn’t have to be a full on check, just a simple nonchalant pat once in a while is more than enough.

Alright, that’s it.

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Psychopaths and Sociopaths

A thought I’d like to share, it’s a little description of psychopaths and sociopaths and what their basic MO is like, I’ll keep this article brief.

So, to begin, Psychopaths use more of a direct approach by using emotional mimicry and give a false sense of security to their victims, gaining their trust and luring them in, this can be over a long period of time or just minutes, even seconds, depending on their motives, the kind of individual the victim is and the environment they’re in. They’re extremely good at detecting emotional vulnerability and are exceptional at mimicking the emotions of an average individual, even mirroring them perfectly to build rapport with their victims on an emotional and psychological level to get in their psyche and make them get their guard down, via distraction or manipulating the situation in their favor. The victim generally doesn’t detect a psychopath until the damage has been done, but signs can be identified in the interview process of threat identification. Psychopaths, in majority of cases, are asocial predators.

Sociopaths on the other hand, are quite different in their approach, they tend to take an indirect approach by using pseudo charms. cleverly used linguistic cues and micro gestures to influence the thoughts and behavior of their victims towards the direction that would help fulfill their agenda, they are unempathetic to their victims just as psychopaths are and they always look for any psychological vulnerabilities or insecurities in you that they can exploit, once found, they will use them to make you doubt yourself, make you question your self-worth, create weakness and make you lose your sense of self-confidence, self-esteem and will control your actions through their words. The victim of a sociopath, unlike a psychopath’s victim, usually doesn’t realize that they’re victims, even when showed evidence of it, due to them becoming completely dependent on their predator, sociopaths are exceptional liars and manipulators, they use others to do their work and are even protected by those they manipulate, they avoid physical violence themselves, but let others commit violent acts on their behalf. It’s quite hard to spot a sociopath, since they blend in really well, but if you do manage to identify them by detecting anomalies in their behavioral patterns, you can avoid being a victim and their words, like magic, won’t affect you, once the trick is revealed. Sociopaths, in many cases, are social predators.

Both have their M.O, but their end goal is the same, exploitation of their victim’s weaknesses to get what they want from them, whether it’s money, control, promotion, sex or life.

 

There’s much more detail to it, but these are their fundamental traits to look out for. Hope you found it useful, there’s another article I wrote, related to this topic on how a predator’s mindset works, check it out HERE. If you want to know how to lose a stalker, check out my article on How To Lose Tail. Thanks for reading.

Losing Tail Part – 2

Now continuing from Part-1, I’ll focus on the counter-measures to escape stalkers and certain surveillances as well (similar principles apply).

First, you gotta remember, your stalker is already a step ahead of you, since they know about you. But you on the other hand, have yet to identify them. So you can’t afford to fall behind in this chase or you’ll lose before you can take action.

What do I mean by “fall behind”? Well, for one, be observant (More on Observation below) rather than living in your own world where everyone ceases to exist besides your phone and pokemon apps. That’s a good place to start.

So! Let’s begin with the list now, mmkay?

 

Observation

Like I said, being observant of not only your surroundings but also the people in your surroundings is the first step in losing someone who is following you, without this you‘re never gonna know anything about anyone who‘s watching you, effectively making you lose the battle before it begins. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mind clear, keep calm, not paranoid, learn to notice the little details in your environment, study the normal behavior of people around you, so you can pick up the abnormal behavior with relative ease.

 

Identification

If you’re observant in your day-to-day life, you will be able to pick off odd behaviors from people. Why? It’s simple, while you have been observing people, your brain has been doing more than just observing them, it has been studying the behavioral patterns of average individuals who walk past you everyday. It has been picking up on subtle and obvious behaviors and physical cues that people who go about their businesses normally have. Your brain is familiar with how an individual acts when they’re not a threat. So, if you do come across a stalker, their behavioral pattern will stand out to you as odd and unnatural, which would make you aware of the presence of a possible threat. Now, another thing, whenever you want to turn around to look at your stalker, don’t. There have been many who recommend using a reflective surface to view the stalker, yes, that’s old school stuff, works many times, I don’t question it, but the thing is, we live in 2016, almost everyone have smart phones with HD cams on them, even on the front for “selfies” and stuff, so use ‘em, yeah? That way, you won’t have to try and find a (barely) reflective surface to try and find a stalker who’s probably really good at hiding and look even more unnatural than the stalker following you. But since everyone has their heads in their phones, you being one of them would look much more natural, just turn on the camera, turn it towards you, get it to your face level and look and/or take a picture to confirm the identity of the stalker and to show to the police later. Some also tell you to sit down and look at people, well, yeah, that can work, but again, it depends on the kind of stalker you’re dealing with. In certain cases, you’d just be giving the stalker the opportunity to close the distance between them and you, I mean you don’t know why they’re after you, do you now. You don’t want to leave anything to chance during the identification process (or any other process really). So, keep moving. Now in this day and age, there are CCTV cameras everywhere, well, use them, try walking past a camera or two to catch the stalker’s face, if they’re not wearing something that covers it or in some cases, they’re smart enough to not walk past it, but take another route. Anyway, it’s worth a shot, so you can tell the police about it and they can get to the location of the camera that captured the stalker in action and identify the perp for an arrest. Nothings off the table, especially if the situation demands it. Just assess the situation first and then act accordingly. Which requires a lot of psychological training and experience helps as well. Remember, doing it and reading about it are two very different things. Moving on…

 

Distraction

Next, after you have identified the threat, you have to formulate a strategy to lose the stalker. How do you lose them? Well, you make them take their focus off of you or at least make them focus on something else for a while. How do you do that? That depends on the situation you’re in at the time. Improvisational skills come in handy during this process. For example, if you see a police officer, walk up to them and ask for directions, but make sure the stalker isn’t within the hearing range of you, that way, all they’ll see is you talking to a police officer. Which will slow them down, create doubt in their minds about why you would spontaneously talk to an officer. Of course, you can just report the stalker by pointing directly at them and be like…“He did it!!! He’s the stalker!!!” But here’s the (sort of) down side to that. Doing that, would most likely alert the stalker, making them flee, if they‘re at a distance from you and the officer, they‘ll most likely escape successfully. Sure, you will be temporarily free, but they will be more prepared next time, and if the stalker is persistent, you can be sure, they‘ll be more careful so as to not be spotted and more alert of your “moves“ and observational capabilities. Once they know that you know, the element of surprise is not in your favor now. Next…

 

Confusion

Confusion is a part of distraction, the distraction should be enough of an attention grabber that it confuses the stalker. After their focus has been taken off you, putting it back on you would be hard especially if you’ve already started moving. You could either lose them in the crowd or at a corner or in a building or at a shop in a shopping mall, you can lose virtually anyone by cleverly timing it and using objects or people that block the stalker‘s view of their target (you).

 

Opportunity

The confusion is the part where your opportunity is created for you to escape. Before initiating your distraction and creating confusion for the stalker, you need to have an exit strategy prepared. A low profile, but effective exit strategy. Don’t start looking for an exit after the distraction and/or during the confusion or it will just backfire and chances are, you won’t be able escape, instead will return to the previous situation with the stalker still on you. This time they’ll be much more careful not to lose you, especially considering the fact that they almost did and now they know that you’re someone who knows about them, who knows what they’re doing and someone who cannot be underestimated. Remember, if you lose the element of surprise the first time, there usually is no second chance. Lightning doesn’t strike twice in one place, at least not always.

 

Action

Finally comes the action, now by action I don’t mean find the guy and stalk him back then “kick his ass” for stalking you. You’re not Jason Bourne for heaven’s sake! Nope. So stop trying to be. ‘Action’ is you getting home, calling the police, reporting the stalker, identify the stalker if you can, or at least give a rough description. Or you can also get to a police station directly, to report the stalker in person. Then get home immediately, possibly after checking that you’re not still being followed (yes, there have been cases where the victims were followed by the stalker from a police station, even after they were reported, some are that persistent/daring/stupid/desperate). Then take a taxi or other similar service like Uber or Ola (if you‘re in my country here) rather than a bus or train, wait for the car in the police station until it arrives or stay hidden in a public place (if you didn‘t go to the police station first).
If you’re in doubt of still being followed, (Remember I said doubt, not paranoid) then make sure you ask the driver to drive around your area for a minute or two, see if someone’s following your driving pattern before you get to your destination (house or office). Oh and please, don’t try and confront the stalker like, “Leave me alone you BASTARD!!! I’M NOT SCARED OF YOU!!!” No. Absolutely not. That’s a biiig NO! That’ll be you giving away the fact that you know about their existence. Remember, they shouldn’t know that you know about them till they’re caught or they‘ll escape or become more dangerous and aggressively make their move on you, their target.
Another thing, never try to lure them into a secluded place for what you think would be an “ambush”, even if you have called the police or your friend or someone, things can go real wrong real fast in a matter of seconds. Remember, you’re not Jason Bourne and THIS IS NOT A MOVIE. They might have accomplices, they may have set up an ambush for you instead. They could have weapons or toxic/acidic chemicals. They may want to kidnap you and take you to a second location, which would be an easy thing to do in a secluded place.
Try remaining in a public place where it’s not too crowded and not too secluded, you should see them coming and so should the individuals around you, if the stalker intends to stab you subtly, then over-crowded places with people distracted or excited or focused on something else, places like over-crowded clubs with low lighting, for example, could work to the stalker’s advantage, not yours. But places like a fairly crowded public park or a fairly crowded street in broad daylight could work in your favor of losing them or creating a distraction and confusion, for you to escape.

 

Final Thoughts

You can practice the above process in your daily life, especially the observational part. It helps a lot if you notice the little things around you. Plus, it’s good for the development of your cognitive abilities.
You see, the thing about stalking is often it’s more psychologically damaging than physically. It happens more commonly than most think. Sometimes, it’s subtle, sometimes, it’s painfully obvious. Whether it’s done officially or illegally, stalking/surveillance, if done enough, it can torment the target more than any other kind of physical torture.
Certain stalking methods can be excruciatingly painful for the target. Especially because they can’t report it, as either there is no physical evidence of it happening or all evidence, if any, is circumstantial. So, stalking is not a matter to be taken as a low-threat act. It’s actually one of the more effective ways to break, scare and manipulate a potential target. Training to avoid being a victim of stalking requires more psychological training than anything else. Train your mind to be strong and resilient and you won’t break down under pressure nor will you have to use your fists, you will come out on top, because you will learn to go toe-to-toe with your tormentor, that is, if you can’t stay ahead of them.

 

So, Finally! That’s it, this is the end of the ‘Losing Tail’ articles.

I hope you found the information useful. I tried my best to get the info packed in both of them. Any additional comments are welcome… and, as usual, Thanks for reading!