What to Do If You Think You’re Being Followed

Celebrities aren’t the only people who deal with stalkers. Normal people get followed from time to time for all kinds of reasons. It could be by an ex who’s not ready to move on, a driver hopped up on road rage, or even a creepy admirer who isn’t so secretive about their admirations. Whatever the motive is, it’s scary to be followed.

If you’re suspicious that someone is following you, we have some practical tips that will help you keep a level head and stay safe.

Keep calm

If you see a potential stalker in the rearview mirror, don’t slam on the gas to rush away from them as a knee-jerk reaction. On the contrary, it’s better to slow down because it gives you time to think things through. Personal security expert Robert Siciliano suggests driving to a police station or other authority office if you suspect someone is following your car. If you’re on foot, stop to look at a store window or tie your shoes, all while staying aware of your surroundings. Use that time to gather your thoughts, do a little deep breathing, and take stock of what’s happening around you.

Pay attention

We do a lot of things on auto-pilot. How many times have you driven home only to pull into your driveway and realize you don’t recall the last three turns you made? If you think someone’s stalking you, make it a point to be extra observant.

This is doubly true if you feel like it’s an ongoing issue. Don’t play on your phone while taking a stroll or zone out behind the wheel. Instead, keep an eye out for things that are out of place. Make note of pedestrians you pass, especially if someone pops up repeatedly. Look for cars making all the same turns you’re making.

Mix things up

People make wrong turns all the time, but it’s rare for two people to make the same wrong turn at the same time. If you sense someone’s following you, try a short detour. Turn away from your destination, and then double back. This works as well on foot as it does in the car. If a potential stalker mimics your maneuver, your suspicions may be warranted. If this happens, head to a public place or police station.

Go where the people are

Instead of walking home, go into a busy coffee shop. If you’re in your car, drive to a full parking lot, like one at a mall or large shopping center, and go shopping. Crowds can help deter stalkers from continuing to follow you or approaching you, as there are too many witnesses around. If you return to your car, make sure you aren’t walking alone. Speak with a security guard and ask them to walk you to your car. Be sure to check inside and under the car before you get in and always keep your doors locked.

Break out your phone

There are several apps built specifically for personal safety, like UrSafe or the Noonlight app. Both offer a host of personal safety features and are available for Android and iOS. You can alert authorities with these apps if you’re in trouble, so they’re great tools to have on your phone.

Kitestring is another excellent mobile tool. Kitestring is an SMS-based service that gives you a simple way to set up automated check-ins, alerting a friend if you don’t respond. As there’s no app to download, it works with any SMS-enabled mobile phone.

Even if you don’t have access to a personal safety service, you can still use your phone. Call a friend or family member, tell them where you are, and stay on the phone with them until you feel comfortable.

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Call the police

If you feel you are in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to contact the police. Calling 911 or the non-emergency police dispatch line in your area are always options, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Whether you’re walking or driving and feel you’re being followed, it’s important to stay safe. Keep these tips in mind and use them to help you protect yourself from any stalkers.

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Katherine Torres
Written by
Katherine Torres
Katherine has had several years of experience developing and executing multichannel marketing campaigns, but actually started her career path in journalism. Though she switched gears, she continues to be driven by the need to deliver information that can be helpful for individuals. As an owner of two rescue dogs, she is most interested in technology and products that allow her to keep a close eye on her pets when she’s away.

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  • connergarrysennett

    This happened to me last night. They followed me in a car, yelled at me and threw things at my window. When I couldn’t lose them I called 911.

  • LJ444

    Hayley, an officer I spoke to told me to call 911 next time – right after the stalker follows me from one place to the other just one time. Tonight I had a guy follow me around after I moved from my parking space three times. I was about to go into the store, having been in my car just 2 minutes or so, and suddenly this guy parks right next to me and stares at me the whole time. He kept his lights/engine on, no intentions of getting out to go in the store. I then went around and parked at the other extreme. He immediately followed me and parked a few feet away and stared at me again. There wasn’t even a space where he parked.

    Then I moved out of there to get a pic, but it came out blurry due to the rain, so I parked behind him and got the make/model/tag number. I went around him and left out the other end. He was waiting at the other exit, but I made sure that he didn’t follow me when I left.

    Everything is on the store’s surveillance video. I had a stalker for three years a while back. He even went to jail for stalking me, and I haven’t seen him in a while. I couldn’t really see this guy clearly due to the raindrops on the windows, but he seemed to have a full lightish beard, unlike my stalker. I have no idea who it was or what he wants or even where he started following me, since I had gone to several places already. So many wackos in the world…SMH.

  • Hayley Rienzo

    I was just followed in a car and tried to call the local police. There was a large menu of options that I did was not paying attention to due to me paying attention to the actions of the car. If I find myself in this situation again do I call 911 or go through the options to contact the local police again?

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Yikes! If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, call 911. Typically, local police numbers are for non-emergencies.