14 Survival Strategies That Are Downright Deceptive

There are basically two types of preppers getting ready for SHTF, those who are ready and willing for a fight and those who will avoid a fight as long as possible but fight back when needed.

The major difference in probable outcomes for the two classes is the first type will, probably, not be long for the world; the latter has a much better chance of long term survival.

If you’re in the latter camp, which would prefer to avoid fights, duck confrontation and confound those who would prey on you as long as possible, then you will need to become an expert at deceptive strategies and how to implement them to survive.

The best way to win a fight is to avoid fighting and the best way to escape being victimized is to forgo selection as a victim entirely. In the chaos following a natural disaster or SHTF event, the goal will be staying out of the line of fire.

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to make sure that you and your home or bug out location don’t become a target for those who are looking to steal your supplies and do harm to your family.can trick, misdirect and bamboozle those who would hurt or steal from you.

The Art of Deception

Deception is a concept as old as humanity. Lying. Dirty tricks. Misdirection. Sleight of hand. Whatever form it takes and however it happens, deception is, at its core, the control of perception.

It has been said that controlling perception means you control reality, at least for a time in the mind of the person you pull the ruse on. Understanding, on a fine level, is the principal element of success for pickpockets, magicians and all kinds of people who rely on operating in the “gaps” of ordinary folk’s awareness.

Practical deception has an especially long and colorful story in the realms of military and criminal history, with everyone from legendary generals and infamous con men employing deception on grander and smaller scales to affect their ends.

While the word has unsavory connotations of ambush and thievery, deception, like any other concept, is agnostic: neither good nor ill, its moral character completely dependent on who uses it and for what ends.

That’s where we come in. You don’t need to be Erwin Rommel or Ferdinand Demara to make use of deception in your own life, and do so in a way that is both virtuous and practical. Any prepper should be employing the basic tenets of deception to ensure the safety of both themselves and their families.

You needn’t think you need to be a roguish spy or dashing highwayman to make good use of deception, and just like all your other prepper skills it is often the basics, so easily learned that make the most difference in your outcome.

In the sections below, we’ll take a look at 10 tested-and-true deceptive strategies to give your enemies and potential attackers the slip after the ‘S’ has well and truly hit the ‘F’.

Deceptive Strategies for Successful Survival

Employing deceptive strategies for preppers typically entails a combination of camouflage, misdirection, appearing as something or someone that you aren’t and directing people’s movement and attention where you want it

While is all sounds very nebulous and esoteric, the practical elements are simple to learn and mostly easy to implement. The sections below will have all the info you need to jumpstart your more devious endeavors.

#1. Blend in with Clothing and Gear Choices

You want to look like anything except what you are during a crisis, meaning a well-equipped, capable and skilled prepper. However skilled you are, you will still be a target for those that are going without.

The first thing to keep in mind when preparing for this visual deception is your clothing and gear. You want to avoid “looking” like the prepper you are to those you interact with or those who might see you.

Looking like a prepper can make you a target even long before the SHTF; folks will remember you and come looking for the supplies they’re sure you have stocked and you’d be appalled at how astute and intelligent some criminals are and how patient they can be.

You should not wear obviously styled prepper and tactical clothing; don’t wear camo clothing (unless needed for actual concealment, openly carry your weapons or use tactical-looking web gear, backpacks and the like.

Make sure your EDC items aren’t too bulky (the “Bat Belt” look and are either commonplace or hidden from sight. Your average, comfortable, durable clothes that are suitable to the climate and environment you are in will be fine.

When the SHTF and the nicer parts of society crumble, start wearing your “worn and dirty” looking clothing so you blend in with everyone else who hasn’t showered and will avoid becoming a target.

Now, don’t actually let your clothes get too filthy, as they will not help you cool in the heat or keep warm in the cold as well as clean clothes, and of course they are a vector for all kinds of nasty germs and skin conditions

You want to look patina’d, not actually be filthy. The noticeable appearance of newness is a tip off to some dodgy elements that you are probably well-equipped.

Much of the above holds true for your vehicle. Don’t drive a decked out Hummer or massively lifted truck around town stuffed to the gills with supplies and bedecked with every kind of “prepper-centric” flair: bumper stickers, vinyl decals and so on.

If you have to have that capability, fine, but take pains to keep as much useless, attention-seeking crap off of it that you can. Your daily driver and big-out vehicle should not stand out if you can help it at all.

Be careful when making any modifications or upgrades to your vehicle, do these in a garage or your backyard out of view from passersby. This precaution prevents your neighbors from having a reason to talk about (or steal) your decked out ride instead of taking their own when SHTF.

#2. Be Invisible

You can make yourself mostly invisible to those looking for their next meal by taking pains to match the baseline of people populating an area. Again, don’t stick out.

If they are all skinny from lack of food, you need to be missing some meals unless are very lean. If they are haggard, dirty and tired, don’t mingle looking and smelling like a freshly picked flower.

Match the local customs of a place, however small they might be. If people pay the price when bartering, don’t haggle. If people haggle like the sky is falling (or already fallen) then you haggle.

Pay close attention to the way people talk, congregate and interact socially. Match the baseline as best you can.

Sometimes no matter what you do people will know “you ain’t from around here.” That’s alright, simply do your best to avoid making waves (drawing unneeded attention/, making a scene) and don’t try too hard to blend in.

In the case of an obvious and almost insurmountable “sore thumb” trying too hard to blend is highly suspicious.

Consider the case of the counterfeit zebra: a mule painted black and white might mingle unheeded, but a thoroughbred will a sheet over it will rarely pass muster.

For more information on how to blend in with the crowd and be invisible, learn how to be a gray man.

#3. Learn to Negotiate

The twin arrows that should be in everyone’s quiver when it comes time to press hands and get someone to do something for you or give you what you want are Flattery and Bribery.

Both the bastard sons of Manipulation. While you might think you are “above” such base social maneuvering, you’d be wrong to neglect sharpening either.

Flattery can take the form of praise, appreciation for the work someone is doing, compliments, and other “affirmative” interaction. Almost everyone wants to feel worthy, competent, important and admirable.

These deeply hardwired desires are easily stoked to your own benefit when you know how to do it properly. Flattery is the classic implement employed by the confidence man and the alliance maker.

There are times when flattery will get you out of a potentially dangerous situation or get you additional food rations or get you through a checkpoint.

Before attempting to use flattery though, you need to be absolutely certain that you can carry it off. Flattery that is detected for what it is, manipulation, will be sharply rebuked and can lead to a scene at best or trouble at worst.

Learning to use flattery well requires good social skills, an understanding of human psychology, empathy and a little counterfeit charm. All can be learned.

Bribery, just like flattery, will work in a tense situation if implemented smoothly. If you have stocked up on cash, previous metals or ammunition or any of the other most desired items when SHTF, you can use these to “buy” your way out of a potential arrest, a threatening situation or to loosen someone’s grip on something they have that you want.

Again, you’ll need to be careful about using this technique. Once you are known for bribing your way out of things, that hungry hand you fed may remain outstretched in the future.

Additionally, there are some people who do truly operate on principles, and to these stalwartly virtuous types a bribe might as well be a backhand. Try to tease out who you are dealing with before you default to bribery and expect reprisal if you guess poorly.

During any negotiation be graceful, pleasant and forgiving but stay smart and “tactical”. In any interaction there will be a winner and a loser. Someone will get what they want and achieve all their objectives and intentions, or they will not.

If “everyone wins” it was never a negotiation. Don’t be lulled by bubblegum “we are all the world” horseshit. Keep your emotions under control no matter what is said or done. Don’t be impulsive and keep your eyes on the prize.

Pay attention to how someone says something versus what they are saying. It is often necessary to “read the tea leaves” to identify the hot button that will bring their true motivations to the surface.

Listen for any details that they might be leaving out of the conversation. Suggest solutions or options rather than stating them as an absolute or directive which could be perceived as you giving orders by the other party.

#4. It’s OK to Be a Little… Direct

Oftentimes, getting people to go where you want is as simple as showing them the easiest way forward. After all, the “easy” way is the most efficient, and smart people who use big think act efficiently. Right. Remind me again why the cheese in the mousetrap is free…

You can use this principal in your preparations around your home and bug-out location specifically. By setting up debris or other obstacles in your yard, around your perimeter and inside the structure it is possible to direct intruders to follow a certain path when trying to breach your dwelling.

By implementing this strategy you can easily funnel them into a killzone, or away from your valuables and other group members or family. This way you can be ready to ambush them properly.

There are all kinds of ways to do this, from thorny plants and shrubs under windows to boarding up entire doors. Physical fortifications like walls, fences and barbed wire make directing movements easy, while improvised tools like epoxied broken glass shards and rebar caltrops will send a definite “Not this way” message.

Less overt defenses like barking dogs (or a recording of one) might get people to steer clear entirely, while “enticements” like open or unlocked doors and obvious signs of habitation (and power, food etc.) might see intruders’ greed override their good judgment and go off looking for “cheese” while your cleverly hidden and concealed real stash remains hidden nearby..

#5. Defend Your Home Deceptively

Another misdirection tactic you can use is to make your home or bug out location look like it has already been abandoned, destroyed or looted.

By showing an intruder or raider what they half expect to see you can get them to give up preemptively without ever coming close to discovering your real stash.

This is part of preventing your home from becoming a target by making it appear like there is nothing there worth taking.

This requires some fairly significant prior preparation and a commitment to doing what is needed in the immediate lead-up to or aftermath of a SHTF crisis.

You’ll need to either have a “compartment” of the house secreted away that is undetectable, or install a smaller shelter and storage location near the decoy property so it serves as a cover.

For the first option, consider installing a false wall, hidden cubby, or concealed stairwell that has room for you and your supplies. A hidden basement conversion is ideal

For the second, you can consider a variety of DIY or prefab underground shelters installed and concealed on a discreet part of the property.

The next step is to rough your place up! Scatter debris, detritus, “safe” trash (no biological or chemicals that can make you sick), break unimportant things, tear up carpet, bust in walls, shove some mail into the mailbox or pile up some newspapers on the front step or at the end of the drive.

Spray graffiti all over the outside walls of your home. Anything you can do to make your home look ransacked, neglected and abandoned is tops.

Don’t ever use lights very if there is any chance they can be detected Let the grass go uncut and don’t worry about raking leaves or picking up tree branches, or tidying up. You want to leave no track or sign of human habitation.

This gets increasingly difficult since regular comings and goings will clear footpaths, wear down grass into dirt, remove dust and generally just leave indicators that people move along a path frequently. Those are symptoms an alert, trained or clever bad guy will spot.

For those who have a truly self-contained and separate shelter location, they may go so far as to burn their own land or house down, a least partially.

This is an obvious “move along” signal to any would-be thieves or intruders, and has the added benefit that you are not likely to entice anyone to move into your “cover” location.

Read more on home defense strategies here.

#6. Conceal Your Supplies

When it comes to supplies, you’ll want to be fairly covert about your behavior pre and post-SHTF. Store your supplies in several hidden locations around your property so if one location is compromised, you still have other supplies.

Make it a point during your preparation to conceal as much of your loading and unloading of supplies into your house or cache as possible. Pull into the garage when unloading boxes of supplies or into the backyard so all your neighbors aren’t privy to how much and what you are stashing.

Try to attend all deliveries, but if you cannot have boxes of supplies delivered to the back door of your home instead of letting them sit out front where they can be observed.

If you build an underground bunker to store your supplies and have no way of keeping it secret from neighbors, create a cover story so that folks perhaps see it for what it is when SHTF. For example, you could simply let it drop in conversation that you are terrified of tornadoes and are simply building a temporary storm shelter.

Another thing you can do is set up various remote survival caches around your area, at your bug-out location or anywhere else you know they’ll be out of the way.

You’ll need to take pains to completely conceal, protect and weatherize their contents, as very little will survive any time in the elements without breaking down.

trojan horse

#7. Use the Trojan Horse Technique

Disguise things so they look like something else, allowing you to hide it in plain sight. Similar to a Trojan Horse, this technique relies on hiding something useful in a non-threatening and nondescript “shell”.

A typical swimming pool will provide a lot of summertime fun, but it is also a ready cistern for serious amounts of water storage. Compared to installing a dedicated rain catchment or secondary water storage tank, the installation of a pool will raise nary an eyebrow.

You could do something similar with an antenna or camera gimbal on your roof by concealing it within a weathervane or decorative windmill. Guns and other weapons can be concealed inside DIY hiding places in furniture or stashed within quick-deploy concealment furniture made to order.

Old cereal boxes and other innocuous items can disguise small pieces of equipment and valuables. Fake fixtures and walls can hide compartments and passageways.

If you must have a generator or solar power system, batteries, and charger, figure out how to disguise the equipment, perhaps in a fake shed on the side of the house.

If someone walked into it, they would see nothing but lawn care equipment, but beneath the floor you could have your battery bank stored and the solar panels folded out of sight.

The sky is the limit when it comes to disguising your supplies and needed equipment as something else, or hiding them entirely.

#8. Make Use of Camouflage

Camouflage is the art of visual stealth through the application of techniques that will fool the eye, either by making the object in question disappear entirely or breaking up its shape so that it is not readily observed.

Camouflage techniques in rural areas offer considerable promise since the more pastoral, natural setting proves ideal for the employment of camouflage.

Blending in with the mass of humanity is not an option when you are the only person with the only habitation for miles around, so you’ll need to make your man-made supplies and lodging blend in with the natural material surrounding it. This can be done through a variety of methods.

Paint and netting to break up the outlines of structures, equipment and vehicles to help conceal them from sight. Obviously, the larger the object the harder it is to conceal and so the more elaborate and more intricate your efforts must be to hide it, and even then when someone gets close enough the ruse is usually up.

Some of the best concealments are the simplest. Building up a dirt revetment and sowing grass on it along with plants and shrubs works wonders to hide vehicles and shorter structures completely, especially at a distance or when a vehicle is driving by at speed.

You can use common paints, dirt, clay and other staining materials to cover up bright colors and apply proper camo patterns to both vehicles and structures.

You can even camouflage something like a renewable food supply in the form of edible and medicinal plants that are not commonly known to most people and plant them among native foliage that won’t compete with them. To an onlooker, they just look like wild plants. But more importantly, it will not immediately betray your presence like a proper garden or row of crops will!

You can easily take your camo supplies on the road with you. Carry the materials you need to paint your vehicle with a camouflage pattern (tape, paint, etc.) along with a machete, so that if you need to pull off the road and into the woods to sleep or make a semi-permanent camp, you will be hidden from view. A few colors of paint, a canvas tarp and some large, cheap brushes will do the trick.

Learn more about camouflage here.

#9. Use Defensive Landscaping

One area where many people go wrong is they secure the perimeter of their home or bug out location as if it were Fort Knox holding all the world’s gold within its walls.

Sure, physical fortifications work to slow and fix attackers in position, but not fortification can stand against a determined attack it is undefended. What’s more, proper fortifications are a huge, flashing red sign that says “important things within!”

Instead of installing flood lights and building a ten-foot high wall with barbed wire along the top, which basically screams to thieves that what you have inside is worth any expense to protect, consider using defensive landscaping instead.

Defensive landscaping is a way of using plants and other natural materials to create the kind of defensive perimeter around your home or BOL that looks relatively normal and yet still deters intruders and make them think your house isn’t worth the effort.

A barrier made of dense thorny bushes along the edges of your property will deter quite a few would be looters.

A field of loose rocks and stones or gravel can make considerable noise or make footing treacherous. A conveniently placed ditch can put people trying to cross it squarely in the sights of defenders. There is so much you can do with natural materials!

The type of plant you can use obviously will depend on the climate you live in and what grows well in your area but here are some suggestions:

Holly shrubs. Big shrubs that are green year round, grow well in most types of soil, and come with leaves that are spiky enough to prick if you push into them. Noisy when mature.

Blackthorn. A shorter shrub, less than a foot tall, that is spiny, but has small dense leaves that make it very suitable as a hedge. Its flowers are white and it produces a dark, blue-black berry. It is also referred to as Sloe, since the fruit is used to flavor sloe gin.

Firethorn. Great for growing a hedge that is virtually impenetrable. It can grow as high as fifteen feet and has thorny stems with brilliant reddish-orange berries and white flowers in the summer months.

Oleaster. This is a tree that is smaller in stature, typically reaching about 15-20 feet in height. Its leaves are lighter green and silvery on the underside, deceptively pretty, because the branches of the tree have spines.

It can double as a food source because it does produce a sweet tasting yellow fruit and edible flowers. Oleaster will do okay in poor soil or dry climates and it’s a sturdy wind resistant tree.

Creeping Juniper has thorny foliage and stems, it’s referred to as “blue rug”. It can be used to cover the ground at the edge of your property. It would not be fun to crawl on if you were trying to get through the bushes undetected.

Giant Rhubarb is a plant with sturdy stems, pretty rough foliage, and large leaves. It does well near water so it would be great camouflage for a pond or stream.

There are many, many others that will work well including the Mountain and Blue Pines, sea buckthorn, and prickly ash. Some of these could be used around windows too to prevent anyone from getting close enough to look inside.

#10. Hide Your Survival Garden

A traditional row garden visible from the road will be a dead give-away that not only is the house not abandoned but that whoever lives there has supplies and food.

Use permaculture principles and edible landscaping to plant your garden in various sections around your house and property so that it blends into the landscape as possible. You can also plant less common plants which don’t look like food. The key is to make passersby think there is nothing there that is edible.

If you must use traditional row gardening, consider using large camouflage netting and other techniques discussed above to help break up the evenly spaces appearance of plants or your greenhouse from view of passersby.

Take time now to learn about wild edible plants and how to cook and eat them safely. Plant wild edibles all around the yard along the road that most people won’t recognize is even food, such as:

DandelionsMullein
Wild garlicWild mustard
Monkey flowerWild bee balm
Hop cloverRed clover
CattailsWild grape vine
PigweedPlantain
Pine treesWatercress
Creeping charlieChickweed
Miner’s lettuce Joe pye weed
Milk thistleDaylilies
Field pennycressChicory
Wood sorrelLamb’s quarters
Sweet rocketYellow rocket
ColtsfootBeach lovage
Shepherd’s purseCommon mallow
PurslaneKudzu
Ramps

Study the techniques involved in companion planting and building a food forest to ensure that your survival garden doesn’t make your home a target.

A food forest can be developed if you start now so that no one will even know that the “woods” at the edge of your property hides a secret garden of food.

Sure, a few people could stumble upon it if they happen to walk right through that area, but most people will walk right by or loot your house and yard without even bothering to enter the forest behind your home.

11. Employ Decoys

Sometimes you can use deception opposite the way you’d think, not to fool people into not acting, but to get them to act in a way that hurts them, makes them waste time and energy or even completely blows their plans.

You can do that with a decoy. What is a decoy? A decoy is a person or thing that is a distraction, or is a “false target” something that appears real but isn’t. Decoys are some of the oldest forms of misdirection used in warfare, but have steady work in the hands of police and civilians, too!

Even if you don’t know your head from a hole in the ground you are already acquainted with some decoys in your day to day life. Cops use vulnerably placed decoy “bait cars” to trick scumbag car thieves into trying to steal them.

Hunters use decoys both to lure in curious animals or lull them in to a false sense of security. Civilians do much the same; we have all seen the fake owls and hawks guarding gardens from rodents and other pests!

The military uses decoys in all kinds of ways, from sophisticated signal spoofers that generate false radar and sensor targets to entirely fake installations designed to misdirect enemy observers and warplanes.

One of the most famous in history was a massive formation of inflatable tanks assembled in England leading up to the invasion of mainland Europe in WWII.

German recon planes reported a colossal assemblage of vehicles that were basically balloons! They couldn’t tell the difference from high in the sky…

You as a prepper can use decoys “offensively” or “defensively.” Offensive decoys are things that will misdirect someone’s attention on to a false threat or contact, distracting and perhaps misdirecting their energy, time and ammo onto a literal ghost.

Defensive decoys will present hostiles with what they seemingly want, only it is fake or otherwise worthless, once again costing them time and energy as a well as frustrating them.

An example of an offensive decoy could be something like a fake firing position in a window, complete with fake gun and poorly executed “camo,” a series of blank firing simulators, or a high-quality recording of movement, yelling or some kind of racket that betrays the presence of people.

A defensive decoy could be a diversion safe, obviously placed and loaded with minimal valuables, that will get them to give up early with their “prize” or a survival cache hidden inside a plain-sight concealment, something like a clean, sealing paint bucket that is distressed to look old, nasty and stained, then hidden among a stack of genuinely nasty paint buckets or painting tools.

Decoy use is limited only by your imagination, and done well they are powerful, but any decoy must have two things going for it or it will fail: high-fidelity and good placement.

Fidelity is the impression of realness a decoy provides; the more realistic, the more genuine it seems, the better. A properly scaled and detailed inflatable rubber tank, from the example above, will be far more convincing than one made from cardboard boxes.

Location is the other major element for success in decoy employment. A decoy that is poorly placed may lose effectiveness or fail entirely; those rubber decoy tanks would not sell well floating in a pond!

You will need to think it through and place your decoys according to where they should be and where they will perform as needed. A diversion safe sitting in the middle of a room is a fail, and frankly is borderline suspicious. One hidden and full of clanky, heavy junk will be far more convincing.

#12. When Strong, Appear Weak

Strength can be a deterrent; no one wants to run up against someone only to get their head stove in for their trouble. Only the very desperate, the crazy and the supremely confident attack someone or something that appears to be well armed, capable and confident.

That being said, even if you are very well off, with a large well-equipped group backing you up, you should take pains to not appear that why? Why? Do you want to get attacked looking meek and weak?

No, but in a long-term SHTF situation, there will be ample opportunity for you to get rolled, ambushed and ripped off if someone thinks it is a worthwhile endeavor, i.e. a big payoff.

If you are swaggering around where people can take notice of you, nicely kitted out, well-fed and rolling around in a group, you are going on someone’s list, and they’ll be following up, I promise.

The best thing you can do is manage your target profile to appear about where everyone else is as far as condition, equipment and so forth. No, you will not always be able to manage this ahead of time, but you can make choices on the fly to start conditioning people’s perception of you.

Instead of rolling into town to barter with your entire group in tow (a proper show of force, most places) take only one or two “seconds.”

If you do not have to move around fully kitted up, don’t! Anyone who looks “ready for trouble” i.e. tactical vests, long guns, etc. may deter some people (shitheads) but it won’t stop real serious predators from taking notice and planning a hit on you. If you need to go about in such a condition, do so, but understand that the hills have eyes.

Beyond social graces and interactions, appearing weak instead of strong will really help you when and if you are attacked. Understand the calculus of the threat index in your average foreseeable catastrophe will be quite different from normal times.

A WROL (Without Rule of Law) situation, societal collapse, or plain old exhaustion of law enforcement agencies will see plenty of criminals and psychos set loose on survivors ill prepared to receive them, if for no other reason other than the sheer bloodthirsty joy of the slaughter.

In the unhappy times that follow a major SHTF event, your chances of being victimized skyrocket. That means it is far more a matter of “when” than “if.”

When it happens, if your would-be victimizers roll in thinking you are just another pushover, or undermanned, they will be in for a short-lived shock when they instead meet decisive, organized resistance and in numbers.

That, friends, is the Great Bamboozle: the element of surprise, and in conflict there is hardly anything more potent. The element of surprise will have your opponent snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, stunning, fixing and destroying them, or at least raking them over the glass before scattering them. Anyone should endeavor to take advantage of it.

The trick is, it only works once in the grand scheme of things and it is fragile. A careless word that gets to the wrong ears, a broken masquerade, or clever observation will dissolve the element of surprise immediately and it is tough to get it back.

At any rate, you’ll never again be hiding your numbers or capabilities. You’ll have to come up with some other way to seize the initiative on the defense.

13. A Second, Faker Life

This technique is essential for security both before and after a major SHTF event. There are always bad actors in society harvesting information about you to put into a database, be it on or offline.

What they will do with this info varies, but of most concern to preppers (and everyone else) is that some criminals use this info to plan direct action attacks on victims.

Who has the most and best stuff? Where are they keeping it? What are their schedules like? Any family or other residents to worry about? Anticipated resistance? Is there an opening to act soon- vacation, work trip, etc.?

Who is close to them and vulnerable- potential kidnap and extortion possibility? All of those questions and more can be easily answered by, you guessed it, searching your average citizen on social media and doing some right-clicking and note taking.

Even if you don’t have any online presence at all, the information you deliberately or not-so-deliberately reveal can inform an awful lot about you to people who might be interested.

If the hills have eyes the walls have ears, and just like a classic game of Chinese whispers you can never tell how far info will travel.

One thing you can do to combat this scourge is by employing disinformation on an ongoing and deliberate scale. Using the internet, this is easy, as it is entirely possible to create completely fake or anonymous profiles that have nothing to do with who you really are, and contain everything from a fake name and personal info to fake pics, interests and more.

Be advised, if you friend you real-life friends using your fake-life profile, a savvy social data miner can make connections and informed guesses about you based on mutual acquaintances, comments and so on.

In real life, it gets a little trickier as you’ll be consigned to lying on a greater or smaller scale, or simply not disclosing any info whatsoever about yourself and your group. While both sound easy in principal, in practice it takes some quick thinking, rehearsal and a plan.

Lying sounds like the way to go, but can get you in trouble, trouble in this case taking the form of serious social consequences if you are discovered. There is a strong social stigma in the West about lying when someone is acting in good faith.

Of course, you have no way of knowing that the older lady you are trading bullets to for medical supplies is just sincerely interested in your situation, but that’s the brakes.

If you get caught in a lie, you will raise suspicions. Everyone will be a little more or less suspicious of each other in an ongoing crisis, but getting labeled a deceiving liar is just a hair short of being tagged bad guy.

Additional issues crop up if you have to lace several lies together, especially with people you interact with repeatedly, or when dealing with people in nominal positions of authority.

Nonetheless, sowing repeated seeds of flat-out false personal information can flummox those who would try to harm you; they’ll spend a lot of time trying to verify it, and if that is time they could be spending “shopping” they might throw their hands up in disgust.

#14. Disappearing Act

It takes some work and effort, but it is possible to completely “slip the punch” and avoid a dusk mugging or a midnight raid. If you ever have to bed down or make camp and have reason to suspect someone knows where you are laying your head, someone who let’s say does not have kind intentions for you and yours, you can dodge them if they plan to take you unawares.

Simply, all you’ll need to do is roll up your sleeping bag and break down your tent and move. Yes, it takes effort, and yes you’ll be tired and your dogs will be a-barkin’ but it is a time-tested tactic for beating those who would waylay you while you are asleep and vulnerable.

Once you pack up, move it on down the line at a good pace, putting plenty of distance between yourself and your camp before settling down again.

Imagine the look of surprise on the face of the cutthroat when he arrives back to your initial site to find it deserted. Yes, he might come looking for you, but that is why you took care to hide your tracks, right?

This technique also works to bust discreet surveillance. Your watcher will be settled down himself when you are, getting ready for a long and mostly sleepless night of keeping one eye open and on you to assess your ability to defend yourself.

If you suddenly break camp and leave, he’ll have a choice: waive off surveillance or make moves to keep you in sight and/or follow you. This will furnish the opportunity to spot him, especially if you employ techniques to screen your backtrail.

Keep one thing in mind. If your terrain is such that long range, magnified and concealed observation is possible, this technique will only work to a point, barring you are in a city or camping along a highway or something.

It is very difficult to spot a concealed observer at long range, and you’ll need to move farther, comparatively to escape their line of sight. This will also allow them to break down and shadow you at long range; they’ll be tough to spot!

Conclusion

For most preppers, you will need to learn, practice, and then deploy a combination of deceptive strategies once SHTF so that you can avoid a confrontation for as long as possible.

For most preppers, you will need to learn, practice, and then deploy a combination of deceptive strategies once SHTF so that you can avoid a confrontation for as long as possible.

While deception and misdirection techniques are not foolproof, if things do come down to a fight you should have the odds in your favor.

By balancing your general prepper knowledge with deceptive skills from the strategies aboveareas, you will have a much better chance of keeping your home and family safe from harm.

What are your favorite ideas for deceptive strategies? Let us know in the comments below.

updated 12/06/2019

About Megan Stewart

Megan Stewart
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart. For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of nine grandsons and one granddaughter, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.

7 comments

  1. Avatar

    Nice one Megan. I enjoyed your article. Informative and Relevant.

  2. Avatar
    Star Studded Yankee

    #11 – If the government is handing out food or water. Be in line with your hand out. If you are seen in line people will not think you have extra food at home. Besides your tax dollars paid for the food and water, so you might as well get some. Also your own stock pile will last longer.

  3. Avatar

    But what if you’re looking for a fight, AND you want to hide?

  4. Avatar

    Um, what about getting together with your neighbours and working the problem as a group? You know, rather than watch them starve… Just saying.

    • Avatar

      Can’t you count on your neighbors? Mine are selfish as heck. I can’t trust them to be quiet so I can sleep I’m sure not gonna trust them to do their part when it hits the fan.

    • Dan F. Sullivan
      Dan F. Sullivan

      Absolutely, if they’re open to it. This isn’t about picking one or the other, it’s about doing both, we just focus on one aspect of survival in each article, in this case, deception strategies.

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