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Wrong turns on purpose


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#1 MP4LM3R

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

I have done this a number of times and I know the line between paranoid and aware can get thin in places, so I am hoping I'm not the only one who does this. Coming home from wherever and I notice the same car/headlights have been behind me the whole time, after entering my neighborhood if I still see them behind me I will take incorrect turns. Turn down coulda sacs only to come right back out, turn in circles, etc. I have had anyone continue through this and I only do it until they are no longer there, but my question is am I paranoid or do other people do this as well?

#2 LongHaul

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

I don't do it often, but I'll admit to doing this occasionally.

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#3 OhioGuy

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:17 PM

Nope, I do this too...always aware of my surroundings. Sometimes I spend more time looking behind me than in front. Experts say if you suspect being followed make three right turns and see if they are still behind you. Apparently three right turns is not real normal but it won't work in every situation. I try to make turns where most people would not normally venture into and if they continue to follow drive to the nearest police or fire station and lay on your horn. Never get out of the car to confront them. Common sense.
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#4 Davis

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:24 PM

I think it is probably more aware and cautious than paranoid. If I feel like somebody is following me (typically if they are still behind me after 4 turns) I will go toward someplace other than home, typically someplace public. If nothing else it just keeps us in practice at being aware of our surroundings and using your color codes. Additionally, I make a conscious effort to not leave anything with my home address on it in my vehicle, such as do not put home in my GPS and that type of thing. In the event that my vehicle were to be stolen or the such, I do not want to make it worse by letting them know where I live.
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#5 LongHaul

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:36 PM

I agree, if they're still back there after more than 4 turns you're better safe than sorry. I think paranoid would start if you think you're being followed all the time or start thinking those helicopters are looking for you!
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#6 j.k.chan24

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:18 PM

I have done it on occasions as well. When I worked as a Store Investigator, obviously I would make arrests. The police wouldn't always take them to the station; more or less they would issue "Promise to appears" and then cut them loose.

Depending on where I worked, it was pretty evident where staff parking etc was located. It also didn't help that we had to exit usually from the front door so seeing me leave wasn't too difficult. If my gut gave off a feeling, I would usually take some type of detour to ensure I wasn't being followed home. Keeping in mind, situational awareness has always been a strength. I say better safe than sorry. What's an extra mile/km for personal safety.
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#7 Psybain

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:17 PM

I do this occasionally when a car I don't recogniz follows me from the main road to my neighborhood. There are a few different routes I can take to my house, so I'll change it up to see where they go.

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#8 Scuba CN

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 10:09 PM

I have done this two or three times, but they were a couple years ago when I was working as a lifeguard (yes, even people at pool parties got upset over one thing or another). I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I didn't really notice the cars behind me until I was almost home so I never knew if they had indeed followed me from work or if they had just gotten behind me for a couple turns. Ever since I moved to CT, though, I haven't once gotten the feeling of being followed despite paying more attention to the vehicles behind me. I wouldn't say it is paranoid; it's just practicing good situational awareness and being a bit more proactive about your safety.


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#9 OhioGuy

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:15 AM

I'm amazed at the hordes of people who go around in life totally unaware of anything. I watch people a lot and usually can size up a person just by their actions and I notice these things. Women seem to be the worst at this, especially when you get them talking to another female. Not trying to pick on women here so no offense, just saying they get preoccupied fairly easy and that can be dangerous.

I always remind my wife to be aware of everything and everyone around her. She's getting better at it but it doesn't come naturally for her. But she knows the rule of three right turns now so she does pay more attention to vehicles behind her more than she use to. When I first met her someone could follow her step by step for miles and she would be oblivious they were even there. She was in her own little world as they say.

#10 Lao

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:38 AM

I vary my routes and times to work... They drill this into your brain when you live abroad doing work for the Government. It just stuck and just a part of my life now.
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#11 hfm5872

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:25 AM

I vary my drive to work and never follow a schedule.. I will also vary the time I leave the house and the direction I go. It is not paranoia or crazy, it is just good OPSEC...
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#12 Dax Murray

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:07 AM

I live in the country outside a small town. A girl I went to school with used to live on the same road as I did. Years ago I believe two or more guys followed her and her mom home from the bank or ATM or something. She was sitting on th porch from what I remember and were robbed.

This was a long time ago and I was in like middle school or younger I think so I don't remember the details too well. But my point is I live in an area where most people wouldn't think this would happen, especially out here in the country.

#13 Davis

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:36 PM

Dax; that's a great point. The mindset of "it won't happen to me" because of where you live can be dangerous. Bad things happen in small/rural towns all the time. Per capita they probably happen just as often as in bigger cities.

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#14 TearsOfNorris

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:49 AM

I vary my routes and times to work... They drill this into your brain when you live abroad doing work for the Government. It just stuck and just a part of my life now.


I like to vary which house I leave from or go home to after work. I get a lot of weird looks when I walk into a complete stranger's house, but when I explain that the tinfoil in my mouth is to block the tracking chips in my teeth and that I just want to borrow the couch for a night, things go a little easier and the screaming dies down a bit. It gets a little trickier to sneak out of that house in the middle of the night and leave for work from a different one without being shot though.

In all seriousness, wrong turns are a very out-dated line of thinking that will lull you into a false sense of security. There's no point in running 1990's-era SDRs if your smart phone broadcasts your location to the entire world. If your cell phone doesn't do it, then some friend-of-a-friend will check you in on their facebook page and tag you in a dozen photos giving away your patterns. I prefer to be so boring that nobody would bother following me... not even on Twitter.

On top of that, wrong turns may actually alert any tail worth his salt that you are aware of being followed. You are better off making plausible detours at stores or coffee shops. Even if some amateur thug just wants your cash after an ATM visit, this will also make them question whether you might have already spent the money you pulled out.

#15 hombre gris

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:21 PM

...
In all seriousness, wrong turns are a very out-dated line of thinking that will lull you into a false sense of security. There's no point in running 1990's-era SDRs if your smart phone broadcasts your location to the entire world. If your cell phone doesn't do it, then some friend-of-a-friend will check you in on their facebook page and tag you in a dozen photos giving away your patterns. I prefer to be so boring that nobody would bother following me... not even on Twitter.
...



Agreed, to a point. If someone or some group is tracking you by cell, the possible only option would be to remove the battery. But in that situation I think you would have bigger problems to worry about.

I was thinking that the OP was referring to a potential common street crime. In that case I think your so called outdated method still works. I was taught to make three consecutive right or left turns and so far it has worked for me. I would never knowingly pull into a cul-de-sac as there is only one entrance/exit and it could be easily blocked by whoever is following. Just my $0.02

#16 CENTCOMSurvivor

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:06 PM

Dopers do the three rights all the time. Usually we make two turns with them and they take off not knowing if we are the police or another doper trying to rip them. Still a relevant tactic which I also practice on my way home.
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#17 WarrenPeace

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:47 AM

Counter-surveillance is a useful skill to practice - as LAO mentions, it is burned into you when operating overseas on behalf of Uncle, and it more or less sticks even when you come home. Varying times of departure and arrival, routes of ingress and egress, and monitoring traffic around you (NOT JUST BEHIND YOU) is a good idea.

Now the bad news -- if you are the rabbit, and you are being dogged by real professionals, you probably won't evade it or be aware until the trap is sprung. All of that said, if you are just worried about robbers and other douchebaggery, standard OpSec and keeping your head on a swivel should do ya.

Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and train for both to pass the test.

Edited by WarrenPeace, 14 January 2013 - 10:48 AM.

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#18 TearsOfNorris

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 05:20 PM

I was thinking that the OP was referring to a potential common street crime. In that case I think your so called outdated method still works.


I did not mean to downplay the value of good opsec or situational awareness, but I think most people underestimate the "crazy ex" factor when calculating the probability of electronic surveillance. My main point is just that the game has changed in the last ten or fifteen years. A common thug will not likely go high-tech, but there's an entire "spy" industry that cranks out cheap surveillance and tracking gear for the "cheating spouse" market. Whether it's legal or not, the average private eye or motivated ex-girlfriend (or co-worker, or that ex-con you arrested a few years ago, or a competing salesman from a rival firm, obnoxious neighbor you called the cops on, etc.) would have no trouble planting a $300 magnetic GPS tracking device under your vehicle. The potential scenarios are endless. Don't assume that it only happens to people who work at top-secret weapons research labs.

Street crime is one thing, but if you are being specifically targeted for any reason (and there are many possible reasons... including working overseas for Uncle Sam), then it's hard to ditch an electronic tail with wrong turns. That was my only high-horse. Consider it thoroughly beaten.

#19 CaseyCadaver

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 12:16 PM

This thread reminded me of an incident from over a month ago. Not sure if this really goes here, but I was rained out of work and don't really have much else to do!

I was leaving for work on a Monday morning. Typically I leave the house before my girlfriend and it usually takes me a few trips in and out of the house to carry all of my gear/tools for the day. (I try to keep at least one hand free so I can open doors, use my keys, etc.)

As I stepped outside for the first time I noticed a car stopped at a stop sign, on a neighboring road. He was underneath a street light. From where he was he had a perfect angle to watch my every entry into my house. (My back yard has one gate you would have to go through to enter in my back door.) I noticed the driver was male and had sunglasses. (It was 6:30 and that means it was still fairly dark.) This made me very suspicious and I started taking mental notes of the car and him. I couldn't make out how tall he was but I noticed he didn't look like the kind of person that takes care of himself. He was overweight and wearing a worn out coat. I watched him as well as I could without staring and pretended to fumble around in my car. He just sat there and watched me. Anytime I looked over his way he was still facing in my direction. My neighbor isn't the smallest but after living here for a year I was fairly sure he didn't live in the area. His car was pointed like he was going to turn right, but his tires were turned to his left towards my street/location.

I went back inside to continue my morning tasks (filling my water bottles, packing my lunch) and I asked my old lady what time she was going to be leaving. I had to be at work way earlier than her and had no choice but to leave soon if i wanted to get to work on time. I explained the situation and told her that if he's still there when I leave that'd we'd come up with a plan. The last thing I wanted to do was leave our house at all, let alone leave her in the house alone. She's a smart girl but I don't trust the judgement of someone who has never had to defend themselves/defuse a dangerous situation. I told her I was going to back outside.

As I stepped outside again he was still there. I situated my gear for the car ride and got in. I started my car and watched him through my mirrors. As I turned my lights on I noticed him start to ease his car forward. I took my time backing out and pulling in his direction. I pulled out onto the street in front of him and as I passed he pulled out and turned down my street. A rush of adrenaline hit me and I pulled a U-turn and sped back to my house.

In the end he had pulled into a neighbors driveway and was outside talking to them. He was probably lost and waiting for directions. But even the possibility of a threat is enough reason to take necessary actions to prevent it. Even if the world were to laugh in my face and call me paranoid it wouldn't change a thing about the way I operate. My gut instinct has kept me safe more than once and I expect it to continue doing so.
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#20 LongHaul

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:57 PM

CaseyCadaver,

I definitely think you made the right decision. Our instincts can do a lot to keep us safe. I'm reading "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker and it is really reinforcing what I already believed. We should trust our instincts, if something seems out of place or wrong don't ignore it. Good call on keeping your guard up.

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