During my counterintelligence training, I learnt a few great tips to confirm if you are being followed by a vehicle. Here are three easy ones to remember:
1) Climbing Stairs: Make four right or left turns. The probability that another vehicle who just happens to make the same 360-degree turn as you is slim to none. You might both make one or even two turns, but anything more means you might have a tail.
2) On, Off: If driving on the motorway, take an exit and then turn right back on. Like the above probability, not many people will do this. The tail is assuming you are exiting and exits with you but is quickly 'burnt' when they follow you right back on the motorway.
Beware: this doesn't always work against large teams. A good surveillance team knows this trick too and will actually exit the motorway the proper way. The first almost burnt vehicle (Car A) drops being the lead and radios back for another vehicle (Car B) to continue on the motorway (without exiting) to take the eye. A while later Car A is back on the road, out of sight as a secondary eye.
3) To fool the above, skip exiting the motorway altogether. Stay on the road and every few miles pull into a lay-by to 'smoke' or 'make a call'. Both the lead tail (Car A) and any secondary surveillance vehicles (Car B, C, D) won't make a stop; this is way too obvious and they will be forced to drive by you. At the next exit they could be waiting for you to pass, though, so beware.
If you repeatedly see the same car over time, I would recommend you just call the police. In the case that it is a local police surveillance, dispatch will put the call out and the undercover unit will move along for the time being. If it is a government organisation, they most likely did not tell their brothers in blue about their surveillance and the local police will roll up on the vehicle. Watch them run the plates and then back off. If it's a private investigator or a stalker, local police will light them up, tell them to move along or even let the reporting party know what is going on.
Big picture question – does it make sense to burn the surveillance team? My personal belief is yes. Think of it like calling their bluff and it should make them back off. It really comes down to why you are being tracked. Surveillances, especially mobile surveillances, are not common or easy and only used for important investigations. So if you show your skills at counter surveillance during a basic surveillance, they will arrest you or back off. They aren't going to use resources over and over again just to be burnt.
Brandon Gregg, director of global investigations for a leading technology firm
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