Are you worried that someone is stalking you or that your movements and actions are being recorded? As the old joke goes, just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Well, we don't wish to alarm you, but there are many reasons - some relatively benign, others more sinister - for being monitored. As we all know, there are some devilishly sophisticated tracking devices on the market, so it has never been easier to spy on others. Here are some signs to look out for and ways to check if you are being monitored.
Hey, how strange to run into you here! Have you noticed a familiar face popping up in different places? If you live in a small town, there's a good chance of that happening, but in a larger community, it is actually quite unusual to accidentally bump into the same people in different locations. If this does happen to you, think back to whether you have mentioned where you're going to visit in advance.
Who would know and how? Have you posted on Facebook or Twitter that you're going to the cinema, or have you started a new hobby? If the person you keep seeing around seems to back away or hide from you, then it might well be worth investigating further. What should you do? Keep a diary, noting the details of the encounters and any ways that your movements could have been anticipated.
And this applies online too. Suppose you are a member of several online communities and notice another user appearing on the different sites or networks you use. In that case, it is a good idea to exercise some caution. A particular sign is if a reference is made to comments you have posted in a different place. What should you do? In the meantime, be very discreet about revealing personal details. If you have concrete concerns, contact the moderators or management.
Have you started receiving a large volume of emails, texts, letters or phone calls from an unknown or mysterious contact? These may not be unfriendly messages, but if you haven't asked for them or explicitly requested they cease, you will have to take action. What should you do? Please don't throw away or delete the evidence; you may need it. Install a recording device or tracking system on your phone/computer. Or if the problem is via mail, contact the Post Office and request a temporary re-direct of your post. If the problem persists, do contact the police as soon as possible.
In the movies, you can tell a phone line is bugged because of suspicious clicks at the start of calls. This is no longer the case now that tracking equipment is so efficient and computerised. A sure sign that your phone has been bugged is if information transmitted during a call has been overheard. What should you do? If you have any doubts, stop using the phone immediately and use an alternative number. You may wish to call in an expert to do a bug sweep of your home to check for tracking devices.
If you are at all worried that anyone is personally tracking your day-to-day movements, please don't hesitate to ask the police for protection. They will need compelling reasons to listen to your complaint, so keeping a diary of the suspicious behaviour you have noticed is essential. Do also make sure your home is as secure as possible by ensuring windows and doors have top-quality locks and by setting the alarm in your absence. What should you do? The most reliable way to find out if anyone has gained access to your home, or is monitoring the exterior, is to install hidden cameras. Place them inside and outside for the best protection; motion-sensor cameras are very reliable.