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How To Spot The Top 8 Pre-Incident Indicators That Predators Use

Updated: Feb 20

Avoiding Violence – How to recognize it before it happens! Recognizing the 8 Pre-Incident Indicators to Violence could save your life!

Pre Incident Indicators are the collection of events or psychological manipulations that may employed by predators. They are tools predators use to draw in victims.

A pre-incident indicator, refers to a behavior, action, or event that occurs before a potentially harmful or dangerous incident. These indicators provide clues or signals that suggest someone might be planning or preparing to commit a harmful act, such as an act of violence, terrorism, or criminal behavior.

How To Spot The Top 8 Pre-Incident Indicators That Predators Use
How To Spot The Top 8 Pre-Incident Indicators That Predators Use

In the book by Gavin de Beckern “The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence”. Gavin demonstrates how people should learn to trust the inherent “gift” of their instincts or intuition. Recognizing the various warning signs and precursors to violence, it becomes possible to avoid violence.

Recognizing Potential Threats Before They Happen

Generally, being alert and having good situational awareness, spotting anomalies; seeing and recognizing the clues that could indicate an attack is imminent. These are actions lets review the what are the little details to look for.

1) Charm and Niceness. Predators disarm victims by being polite in order to manipulate them.

2) Too many details. The predator will lie by creating and communicate excessive details about themselves to make them seem more creditable and important.

3) Typecasting. The predator will draw in the victim by initiating a conversation by saying something insulting about the victim that they would otherwise have ignored. As an example “Oh, I bet you’re too stuck-up to talk to a guy like me.” Typically the victim falls for this trick and will engage to try to prove the insult untrue. Here are eight other types of bait used by predators.

4) Loan Sharking. The predator extended unsolicited help to a victim and makes the victim feel obliged to extend some reciprocal trust, openness, and relations in return.

5) Forced Teaming. Forced teaming is a technique utilized by predators to make themselves appear to have things in common with their victims to gain their confidence and let their guard down.

The predators will deceive and exploit the victim's trust with the goal of ingratiating themselves with their intended victims. appearing to have the victim’s best interests at heart.

Words and phrases used to exploit victims are the repeated use of “we” or "us". predators will use other terms indicating rapport or close relationships when interacting with victims when there is little or none. Predators will also use contrasting terms to put other groups of people in opposing silos as outsiders.

The Joint use of both the "we" and "them" techniques are an indicator of forced teaming.

6) Unsolicited Promises. The unsolicited promise is the number one most reliable red flags due to its nearly always of dubious motive. A promise to do (or not do) something when no such promise is asked for; this typically means that such a promise will be broken.

The second example: an unsolicited, “I promise I’ll leave you alone after this,” typically means the chosen victim will not be left alone. Likewise, an unsolicited “I promise I won’t hurt you” usually means the person intends to hurt their chosen victim.

7) Discounting the Word “No”. Refusing to accept rejection; not recognizing the word “NO”. The best defense against any of these is not to engage and reverse course away from the zone that the predator is operating in. If you find yourself already drawn in and speaking with someone. Once you become aware of these techniques be used on you, put yourself in orange alert and disengage, and move on.

How Attackers Engage Targets
How Attackers Engage Targets

8) Bating Predators often use "baiting" as a strategy to lure and exploit their victims. Baiting involves creating a deceptive situation or using enticing stimuli to manipulate someone into making choices that benefit the predator's intentions. Predators use baiting to exploit vulnerabilities, gain trust, and create opportunities for manipulation, control, or harm. This tactic is particularly prevalent in online spaces, but it can also occur in real-life scenarios. Here's how predators might use baiting:

How Attackers Engage Targets

Verbal Baiting Strategies

  • If you really_X_ [presupposition] you wouldn't_Y_ [bait].

  • If you really_X_ [presupposition] you wouldn't want [presupposition] to Don't you even care [presupposition] that _X_ [bait]?

  • Even a_X_ [presupposition + bait 1] should know_Y_ [bait 2]

  • Everyone understands [presupposition] why you _X. [bait]

  • A person who wanted [presupposition] ___X_ [bait 1] would _Y_. [bait 2]

  • Why don't you ever _X_? [bait] or Why do you always _X_? [bait]

Online Baiting Strategies Predators Use:

  • Romance Scams: Predators create fake online profiles, often pretending to be romantically interested in their targets. They use attractive photos and engaging conversations to build emotional connections, ultimately leading the victim to share personal information or send money.

  • Financial Baiting: Predators may post enticing offers, investment opportunities, or giveaways to lure individuals into sharing financial information, making transactions, or revealing personal data.

  • Cyberbullying and Harassment: By posting controversial content or starting heated discussions, predators can provoke emotional reactions from others, leading to further online harassment or manipulation.

Real-Life Baiting Strategies Predators Use:

  • Kidnapping and Abduction: Predators may use tactics like pretending to be a lost pet owner, offering assistance, or posing as someone in authority to gain access to potential victims, especially children.

  • Human Trafficking: Predators may use promises of employment, education, or a better life to lure individuals into situations where they can be exploited for labor or sex trafficking.

  • Physical Assault: In some cases, predators may create a seemingly harmless situation to get physically close to their victims, such as asking for directions or assistance, only to escalate their intentions later.

Social Engineering Baiting Strategies Predators Use:

  • Impersonation: Predators might impersonate someone trustworthy, such as a friend, family member, or colleague, to gain access to personal information, resources, or confidential data.

  • Emergency Scams: Predators create scenarios that evoke a sense of urgency, like a fake medical emergency, side of the road car break down or a legal issue, to manipulate victims into providing money or personal details.

Baiting Strategies Using Manipulating Vulnerabilities Predators Use:

  • Emotional Manipulation: Predators may exploit someone's emotional vulnerabilities, such as loneliness, insecurity, or a desire for acceptance, to build trust and control.

  • Blackmail and Extortion: Predators may use compromising photos, videos, or personal information to threaten victims into complying with their demands.

To protect oneself from baiting tactics employed by predators, individuals should remain cautious, skeptical, and informed. It's important to be aware of the strategies predators use, especially in online interactions, and to exercise critical thinking before sharing personal information or engaging in potentially risky situations.

Educating oneself about common scams and manipulation tactics can help individuals avoid falling victim to baiting. If something seems too good to be true or makes you uncomfortable, it's essential to take a step back and assess the situation carefully.

Violence Prevention and Conflict Management Resources

The Center for Violence Prevention and Self-Defense Training (CVPSD) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing evidence-based training in violence prevention and self-defense. With a focus on unbiased program development, CVPSD offers customized programs to individuals and organizations, equipping them with the tools to enhance personal safety and contribute to violence prevention in their communities. The Center reaches individuals and communities through partnerships with schools and other nonprofits, community groups, as well as classes for the public.


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