Three Rules for Being Followed

Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

We’ve all had that feeling at some point in our lives — when the hair stands up on the back of your neck and something just doesn’t feel right…

Is someone following me? 

As crazy as it sounds, it’s very important to listen to this little voice in today’s environment. If you’re practicing good situational awareness and you note something that goes against the baseline, trust your gut.

When my SEAL platoon was overseas training allied nations, we were acutely aware that in some of these countries there was assigned and active surveillance of our daily movements.

This was constantly on my team’s mind while working as security contractors for the Agency as well. I always assumed as soon as we left the safety of our post that we were being followed.

Identifying this surveillance had a dramatic effect on how we conducted each specific mission. It took our level of alertness from 100% to 1,000% and launched us right into “get ready” mode.

Now, you probably aren’t roaming the streets of Iraq or visiting villages in Afghanistan (I hope). But you can apply these same principles if you are walking or driving the streets of your city and think you have a tail.

Rule #1: Get to a populated area or law enforcement ASAP.

If you are on foot and believe you are being followed, use this rule. Also, keep in mind the following:

  • If you are wearing a jacket or hat, remove it to change your look
  • Stop several times as if you are window-shopping. If the suspected tail imitates your actions, then there’s a good chance you are being followed
  • Get on your phone and call a friend, family member or law enforcement. Give your location and a description of the individual(s) you believe are following you. Try to take a picture of your tracker. Remain on the phone and continue to give updates on your location
  • Enter the nearest business or populated area and see if you continue to be followed. Notify an employee of your concerns
  • If you feel there is an imminent threat to your safety, ask if you can leave through a rear exit. If not, move on to the next populated area/business
  • Don’t let your guard down until you are sure you are in a “safe zone” — whether it’s your home or a law enforcement facility.

You can employ most of these tactics in one way or another if you’re being followed in your vehicle. However, here’s the biggest DON’T.

Rule #2: Don’t get into a car chase or high-speed evasion.

It will only end badly for you. Instead, take the following steps:

  1. Begin by making a series of right turns. It should raise a red flag if the vehicle behind you also makes the same series of right turns when simply driving to a destination.
  1. Pull over and park with your hazard lights on. If the suspected tail also stops, then likely they are following you.

Be aware that there may be multiple vehicles involved in surveilling you. This is referred to as a rotating tail. When you continue on to your destination, keep monitoring your rearview mirror for a second vehicle that may have acquired you. This is your new tail.

If you believe this is the case, repeat steps one and two. If not, start driving again and move on to step three.

  1. Using all normal precautions while behind the wheel, get on your phone and call a friend, family member or law enforcement. Give your location, a description of the car you believe is following you and the license plate number.
  1. If you feel you are in imminent danger, proceed to the nearest law enforcement facility. This will cease your tail. Especially if they are intent on harming you, there is no better place to be.

If you are in a position where you worry about being stalked — you’ve got an angry ex or a crazy neighbor or, hell, you owe someone money — a good way to avoid being followed is to change your routine.

If you always leave your house or apartment at 8 a.m. on the dot, try leaving earlier or later. Get on the highway at a different exit or take a different road to the store than you usually do.

There are many ways to alter your routine without changing your life. But this will make you an unpredictable target, and those looking for an easy mark will have to look for another victim.

Be a survivor… not a statistic,

Cade Courtley

Cade Courtley

Chris Campbell

Written By Cade Courtley